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MY grateful thanks are due to all who have so 
kindly helped me in the preparation of this book. 
A number of publishers and authors have 
given generous permission for extracts from copyright 
works to be included in the lessons. In this connection 
I would like to specially mention Mr John Murray and 
Messrs Macmillan, who allowed a large number of 
extracts to be used ; Mr John Lane for permission to 
quote a verse from The Father of the Forest by William 
Watson ; M. Fasquelle for leave to include two verses 
by Gautier from Emaux et Camees, published by the 
Librairie Charpentier et Fasquelle ; Mr Theodore W'atts- 
Dunton for permission to include an extract from 
Swinburne's ErechtJieiis ; Mr J. E. Flecker for allowing 
me to quote part of The Golden Journey to Samarkand ; 
and the Controller of His Majesty's Stationery Office for 
granting permission for the inclusion of an extract from 
one of the South Kensington Hand-books. 

As regards the illustrations, I would like to acknow- 
ledge my debt to the following, who so kindly sent me 
photographs, or gave me permission to have others made 
from copyright reproductions : to Dr Herzfeld for the 
photograph of the mosque at Samarra ; to Sir A. Evans for 
the photograph of the " diver" from Knossos; to M. Doucet 
for the photograph of the head of a Bodhisattva ; to 


Professor Delbriick for the photograph of Euthedemos I. 
of Bactri'a ; to the Rev. Canon Binney for the photo- 
graph of Athens ; to Sir WilHam van Home for permis- 
sion to reproduce the painting by Han Kan ; to Dr 
Petrie for the photographs of the " Sheikh- el-Beled " and 
the somersaulting girl from The Arts and Crafts of 
Ancient Egypt ; also to the Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft 
for the photograph of Amenhotep IV. ; to the Kaiserlich 
Deutsches Archaologisches Institut for permission to repro- 
duce the two heads of Meleager, and to the Abbe Breuil 
for a similar permission in regard to his water-colour of a 

For valuable help and advice I would like to take this 
opportunity of thanking Mr Laurence Binyon, Mr F. F. L. 
Birrell, Professor Bosanquet, Professor Baldwin Brown, Sir 
Martin Conway, Professor Newberry, Mr H. A. Ormerod, 
Dr Flinders Petrie, and Mr and Mrs Bernard Whishaw, 
and also Miss Margaret Wroe, who has given me constant 
help and encouragement, particularly on the educational 
side of the book. 

Owing to the kindness of Miss Charlotte Mason, I 
have been able to reprint certain passages from an article 
called Beauty as an Educational Force, which was published 
in the Parents' Review. 

Above all, my thanks are due to those authorities 
whose published works serve as a guide to travellers along 
the hazardous paths of archeology. 

M. H. B. 






EGYPTIAN ART ....... I9 


CHINESE ART ....... 9I 

/EGEAN ART . . . . . . .115 


GREEK ART . . . . . . -135 


ROMAN ART ....... 186 


BYZANTINE ART ... . . 22^ 




ARAB ART ....... 250 


GOTHIC ART ....... 280 

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . -315 

INDEX ........ 323 


Charioteer. Delphi Museum. (From Fouilles de Delphes) 




a. Deer and fish engraved on bone. Musee S. Germain. 

{Photo, Pairault) ...... 4 

b. Painting of a bison. Cavern of Ahamira. (From La 

Caverne cT Altainira d Santillane, pres Santaiider) . 4 


a. Head of a young girl from Brassempouy. Musee 

S. Germain. {Photo, Pairault) .... 14 

b. Incised drawing of a mammoth. Museum of the Jardin 

des Plantes, Paris ..... 14 


Ra-hotep and Nefert. Cairo Museum. {Photo, Brugsch 

Pasha) ....... 24 


The pyramids. (From A History of Architecture. Russell 

Sturgis) ....... 34 


a. Head of the "Sheikh-el-Beled." Cairo Museum. (From 

The Arts and Crafts of Ancie7it Egypt) . . 48 

b. Head of an unknown King. Middle Kingdom. Glyptoteca, 

Copenhagen. {Photo, W. Tryde) ... 48 




a. Girl somersaulting. Turin Museum. (From Arts afid 

Crafts of Ancie)tt Egypt) .... 56 

b. Head of Ickhnaton. Berlin Museum, (/'/^o/o, Deutsche 

Orient-Gesellschaft) ..... 56 


a. Ashur-bani-pal hunting. British Museum. {F/ioto, 

Mansell) ....... 64 

b. Lion from the temple of Ashur-nazir-pal. British 

Museum. {Photo^ Mansell) .... 64 

Excavations at Babylon. {Photo, Underwood & Underwood) 78 


A Barbarian hunting. Collection of Sir W. van Home, 

Montreal .....•• 94 


a. Head of a Bodhisattva. Collection of M. Jaques Doucet, 

Paris ....... 108 

b. Tiger. Sung dynasty. British Museum . . . 108 

Excavations. Knossos. {Photo, Maraghianniz) . . 116 


a. Fresco of a Cupbearer from Knossos. Museum, Candia. 

{Photo, Maraghianniz) . . . . .130 

b. Ivory figure of a diver (?). Museum, Candia . . 130 

The Acropolis from the Temple of Jupiter . . . 150 

Two heads of Meleager. (From Antike Defikmaler) . . 166 




Horsemen from the Parthenon frieze. British Museum. 

{P/toto, Mansell) . . . . . .172 


a. Head of Euthedemos L of Bactria. Torlonia Gallery, 

Rome. (P/ioio, Kaiserlich Deutsches Archaologisches 
Instituts, Rome) . . . . . .180 

b. Head of Agias. Museum, Delphi. (From Fouilles de 

Delphes) . . . . . . .180 

View of Rome. {P/ioto, Beckett) . . , . . 192 


a. Roman portrait bust. Vatican, Rome. (P/iofo, Anderson) 216 

d. Relief from the arch of Titus. Rome. {P/io/o, Br ogi) . 216 


Sancta Sophia. (From a water colour by A. E. 

Henderson, F.S.A.) ..... 230 


a. Coronation of Romanus III. and Eudocia. Bibliotheque 

Nationale, Paris. {Photo, Giraudon) . . . 240 

b. Mosaic of Justinian. San Vitale, Ravenna, {Photo, 

Alinari) ....... 240 

Mosque of Cordova. (Z^/;^/'^, Photochrom Co.) . . 254 


a. Mosque at Samarra . . . . .272 

b. Mosque of Tulun. {Photo, Bonfils) . . . 272 


Chartres Cathedral from the Rue du Bourg. {Photo, 

Neurdein) ...... 282 




Westminster Abbey. {Photo, Frith) .... 294 


a. Head of a knight. Cathedral, Bamberg. {Photo, 

Stoedtner) ... . . 302 

b. Etheldreda superintending the building of a church. In 

the possession of the Society of Antiquaries . . 302 


a. Death of the Virgin. Strasburg Cathedral. (From Die 
Denhiidlcr det deutschen Bildhauerku?ist. Verlag 
von Ernst Wasmuth, A.G., Berlin) . . . 310 

/;. Resurrection of the Virgin. Senlis Cathedral. {Photo, 

Martin Sabon) . . . . . .310 


THIS book, which is primarily intended for parents 
and teachers, is the outcome of a series of " pic- 
ture talks " given to two classes of elementary school 
children, whose ages varied from nine to fifteen years. 
Once a week each class was shown a selection of photo- 
graphs of works of art of all ages, and the children became 
so much interested, and developed such powers of observa- 
tion and appreciation, that it seemed advisable to cast the 
lessons into a more scientific form. Somehow or other 
the children had to be helped to realize that art is a 
result, the slow crystallization into form of man's thoughts 
and emotions. When seeing the reproductions of 
churches and palaces, pictures and statues, they had to 
be armed with enough knowledge to make them see each 
work of art as a living thing. 

All questions of aesthetics were omitted from the 
lessons ; for although girls and boys can be acutely sensi- 
tive to beauty in a work of art, an understanding of the 
reason of this is a later growth, and it is unwise to 
attempt any definite teaching on the subject. The true 
appreciation of a work of art falls within the region of 
spiritual experience, and can never be taught by words. 
On the other hand, a firm foundation for such apprecia- 
tion is a keen and eager interest in art, an interest that 
will turn a museum or gallery into a place of wonder, 
fairy tales, and delight. 

b XV 


Keeping in mind the age and development of the 
children, it was considered wiser to cast the first part of 
each lesson in the form of a story containing as much 
human interest and action as circumstances would permit, 
and to make the second, and by far the most important 
part of the lesson, a discussion of the illustrations by the 
children themselves, followed, in the case of the younger 
children only, by some form of expression work to 
deepen the impression that they had received. Above 
all, the lessons were to bring to the children a sense 
of the joy and delight to be found in art, and help 
them to realize that they are indeed the heirs of all the 

The following stories have been given to the classes of 
children mentioned above, and have been modified and 
altered according to the reception that they have received. 
The additional matter, forming the second part of each 
lesson, has been added for use in the compilation of 
lessons for older girls and boys, to whom a lesson in story 
form, would naturally not be given. It is also hoped 
that it may be of interest to the teacher, or to anyone 
who wants a simple outline of the development of art up 
to the time of the Renaissance. 

In teaching the younger children, the first obstacle 
encountered was their natural difficulty in realizing time. 
No sooner were they interested in a character than one 
or other of them was sure to ask : " Did you ever meet 
him, teacher ? " To answer that the person in question 
lived some thousands of years before the time of Christ 
was only partially to remove the difficulty, so, as a help 


to explanation, the accompanying chart was drawn out 
on a large scale and fastened up on the blackboard at the 
beginning of each lesson. All that was attempted in the 
chart was to indicate each great art period approximately, 
in a simplified way. It would be impossible to measure 
exactly the comparative aesthetic value of each great 
phase of art, and personal preference would always tend 
to colour the results of such an inquiry. All that was 
attempted was to give a broad indication of generally 
accepted critical opinion on those art periods on which 
lessons were given. The critic and the archaeologist may 
argue that to attempt such a chart is to attempt the 
impossible, but against this view must be weighed the 
practical experience of teachers, who understand a child's 
mind, and realize that whereas the comparative differences 
in the imaginary elevations will be forgotten, the im- 
pression of the passage of time will be retained and 

The objection will no doubt be raised that there is 
very little mention of art in many of the stories. The 
reason for this is that they have been planned rather to 
create the atmosphere which gave it birth. They should 
make the child keen to see the illustrations, as further 
instalments of delightful stories. All the art teaching 
that is necessary in a preliminary course will be got in 
the inspection of the illustrations and the accompanying 
discussion, and the teaching will be all the more effective, 
when given in this indirect way. A child would only 
grow bored with reiterated accounts of the execution of 
works of art and the lessons would be worse than useless. 


In teaching older boys and girls, should questions of 
aesthetics arise, the great root principle to impress upon 
them is that art is not imitation, but creation. 

Every effort has been made to make the lessons as 
accurate as possible, and they have been based upon the 
result of the most recent criticism, classification and re- 
search. The scope and nature of the book has made it 
advisable to omit references to authorities, both in the 
stories and in the second parts of each lesson. In a 
different type of book this would not of course have been 
the case. The whole volume has been devoted to pre- 
Renaissance art because, with the exception of Greek art, 
it has been less generally understood and enjo}'ed than 
modern art. The latter is, however, no isolated pheno- 
menon, and the only sound basis for its appreciation is the 
study of ancient art. The lessons attempt to do no more 
than to point the way to where an inexhaustible 
store of interest lies, an interest that is not reserved for 
the critic, artist and archeologist alone, but one that can 
be shared and enjoyed by all. 

The illustrations are by far the most important part of 
the lessons. For large classes they should take the form 
of lantern slides, while for smaller ones, photographs, 
post cards, book illustrations and cuttings from illustrated 
papers and book catalogues will be needed. In teaching 
children, the writer has found it advisable to make the 
pictures the climax of the lesson, and reserve them until 
the story has been told. They should be made as far as 
possible a part of it, and should be connected whenever 
oossible with the life and doings of the hero or heroine. 


It is also most important that the illustrations should be 
discussed by the pupils themselves. This cannot be too 
strongly emphasized. All the good would be undone if 
the teacher herself were in any way to draw from them 
expressions of admiration which they did not feel. 
Judicious questions will set them on the right lines of 
thought and observation, and will gradually help them to 
realize the interest and beauty of each work of art. The 
best and simplest form of questioning is to compare 
different works of art, and let the children find out for 
themselves the difference between them. For example 
the influence of Egypt and Assyria on early Greek art 
can be clearly demonstrated by comparison of illustrations, 
while a child will readily discover the chief differences 
between a Greek temple and, for example, the Maison 
Carree at Nimes, or else the changes and development 
shown by the growth of the Romanesque into the Gothic 
style. In showing illustrations of Egyptian reliefs, 
children can be helped to realize the conventional atti- 
tudes of the figures by trying themselves to stand in 
the same positions ; in Assyrian art they should be 
questioned as to the reason why the genie or human- 
headed bulls have wings, strong animals' bodies and 
human heads, while in the reliefs they should be helped 
to notice for themselves the introduction of the fifth leg 
in the figures in the great doorway reliefs, and the same- 
ness of face in the figures, and so forth. It can be safely 
guaranteed that the teacher will get excellent and un- 
expected answers to her questions. Here are two 
examples of childish understanding. 


In order to help a class of children to realize the 
difference between the spiritual beauty of an early 
Florentine Madonna and the more earthh' charms of 
one by a late Venetian master, two typical groups of 
the mother and Child were shown, and the children were 
asked what was the chief difference between them. A 
girl of eleven after one long look at them answered : 
" I know. The Venice Madonna is happy, but the 
Florence Madonna is kind." Another child, this time 
a little girl of nine, after seeing a typical drawing of a 
woman's head by Leonardo, picked out seven other 
reproductions of pictures or drawings by the same 
master, out of a pile of thirty by various early Italian 
artists. There was nothing in them to differentiate 
them from the rest of the photographs and no names 
were printed on any. The child never made a false 
guess but each time picked out the master's work as 
it was turned up from the pile. She had not seen any 
of the pictures before, and, like the first child mentioned, 
she came from a very poor home. If space permitted 
it would be easy to give many other instances of a child's 
understanding of works of art. 

The lessons would gain greatly in value if illustrations 
or actual examples of the lesser arts of each period were 
shown to the children. In this way they would realize 
that such things as china and textiles, embroidery and 
furniture, are all products of those great forces which 
found their chief expression in architecture, painting, and 
sculpture. During the showing of the illustrations oppor- 
tunities will arise when the teacher can tell the younger 


children some of the things mentioned in the material 
for older lessons, but in doing this she must use great 

In the case of town schools the expense of buying or 
hiring illustrations or lantern slides would be solved if all 
the municipalities would follow the example of Croydon, 
which has provided its free library with a department for 
prints, photographs, and lantern slides, to be used in the 
service of education. Teachers have free access to over 
thirteen thousand of these reproductions, hundreds of 
which are illustrative of the art of all periods and countries. 
There is one thing that is certain. As soon as the 
history of art is taught in schools the demand for cheap 
and good illustrations of works of art will be met, and 
they will be forthcoming. 

As for the stories themselves, a word of apology is 
needed. Their very nature has made them discursive, 
and it has often been impossible to provide what a good 
children's story requires, namely, a single main idea, 
developing in a rapid sequence of events to a well 
planned crisis. Such as they are, however, they have 
been tested and passed by a childish audience. // imist 
be borne in mind that they are to be told to the children and 
are not written for reading aloud. They have been con- 
densed for this very reason. A story told is far more 
effective than a story read. The teacher can hold the 
attention of her class with far greater ease when her 
eyes are not on the book, and from her voice and face 
as much as from the dramatic pause or lowered tone, 
the infection of joy or sorrow, excitement or suspense 


can be caught.^ In this way also the teacher will be 
able to adapt the stories in accordance with the require- 
ments of her class, simplifying them and leaving out 
many details in the case of the youngest children. 

Expression work, as all students of education will 
know, is a necessary factor in the acquisition of ideas 
and an important means of deepening received impres- 
sions. P'reshly gained knowledge, when expressed in 
some form of action, is more readily understood and 
mastered b)' children than would have been possible 
otherwise. This rule applies to the teaching of art 
history as much as to anything else. Free drawing of 
incidents in the story or the modelling of objects in 
clay or plasticine is always enjoyed and is a most helpful 
addition to the lesson. For example, the shape of a 
Greek pillar, the throne of Minos, a paleolithic cave, or 
an early tomb or ruined palace to be hidden under sand 
or earth can be modelled in this way, while the execution 
of these objects will cause the children to reconsider their 
newly gained knowledge for themselves, finding expression 
for their own thoughts upon it, and b}- these simple 
methods imprinting it upon their minds. Acting can 
also become an excellent method for self expression in 
connection with art history. Egyptian archeology, for 
example, can be turned into quite an exciting school- 
room game (and would be still better when played out 
of doors). An archeologist and his wife have been seen 
to descend from a pile of benches into the ver}- heart of 

^ Those who have not studied the science of story-telling would find such 
a book as How to tell Stories to Children, by S. C. Bryant, most helpful. 


a tomb, where mummies, rather inch'ned to fits of giggh'ng, 
lay swathed in waterproofs under a school-room table. 
Endless treasures were discovered ; a gilded chariot of 
chairs ; cups of strange and beautiful design represented 
by mugs of milk for lunch, and wall-paintings and bas- 
reliefs on the walls, easily discernible to the seeing eye. 
In fact the whole lesson quickly repeated itself down to 
the entry of the thief, who made a skilful but unsuccessful 
effort to get the royal jewels and was thwarted by the 
archeologist's wife who was heard to murmur " Yer would, 
would yer ? " 

In teaching girls and boys the history of art we shall 
fail if we do not show them that art is woven out of the 
fibres of life itself, and that if we try to sever the two, art 
dies, just as the plant dies when cut away from the kindh' 
soil from which it draws its nourishment and strength. 
They must realize that even as a plant takes colour and 
form according to the climate and locality that produced 
it, so are the different schools of art the result of geog- 
raphy, religion, wars, and the intermingling of peoples. 
It does not much matter if the children forget the names 
and dates of artists and their work, but it is of the 
greatest importance that when they see an old church, 
statue, or picture, they recognize, even if unconsciously, 
that it is part of the expression of a great life force, 
inseparable from the times and place that gave it birth. 
This understanding wull only come to them slowh-, but it 
is the only permanent foundation for the study of art. A 
growing understanding of the art of the past should also 
bring with it the realization that stagnation is as fatal to 


art as it is to life ; that the art of to-day must indeed 
learn the lessons taught by the great masters of the past, 
but that it must not be content with that alone ; that if 
we are to have a living art to-day it must be born out 
of a world of social unrest and scientific discovery, a 
world of strikes and suffrage reforms, of aeroplanes and 
radium and the groans and booming of machinery. 

In studying art we study life. Deep down under 
springing column and massive wall, lurking in wood and 
stone and half revealed by danvas and paint, there is the 
spirit of life itself; human passion and human delight, 
deep joys, strong faiths, and naked despair. Walt 
Whitman has written that the great masters — 

" Do not seek beauty, they are sought, 
For ever touching them, or close upon them, follows beauty. 
Longing, faint, lovesick." 

Even so will the spirit of life, of romance, follow those 
who have learnt to love art, just as spiritual exaltation 
will await all who have felt the emotion that great art 
can call forth. We cannot all be artists and know the 
joy of creation, but this other deep delight can enter into 
our being. Then under pitiless eastern skies, or among 
grey northern mists, joy will follow us, offering that we 
may receive. 

But we must first learn to receive. We must train our 
critical faculties. Some one has written : " Genius is an 
orphan, but taste is the child of taste," and although there 
is no receipt for genius, much can be done to win that 
delicate and discriminating perception of values, that 
fineness of vision, which can see and can understand. 


But it is an understanding that can not be won easily. 
The training of the critical faculties in aesthetic matters 
takes many years, and there is only one way to set about 
it, that is by constant association with great art. Beaut}' 
is one of the most potent of educational forces and should 
be put within the reach of all. With a love of beauty, 
imagination, vision, and wonder, will grow. Long ago 
an old Jewish King realized that " where there is no 
vision the people perish." Victor Hugo has written 
^^ aimer la beaute c'est voir la lumierey It is right that 
children should first be taught a love of nature, but man 
is nature's supreme achievement, and wh)' should art, 
which is the ultimate expression of man, be neglected ? 
What right have we to withhold from boys and girls the 
love of so much beauty ? It is largely our fault if they 
go through life unconscious of the quick stab of delight, 
the sudden stinging joy, that great art can give. 

Of course there are more difficulties to be faced in 
teaching children the history of art than there are in 
teaching them to love literature, or in providing good 
music for them to hear. Reproductions must in the 
majority of cases take the place of real works of art, and 
the joy of the colour will be lost. The children should be 
taught to consider the illustrations not as an end in 
themselves, but as a magic key, which will in time open 
the door to future delight. 

There has been an excellent movement set on foot in 
recent years, by which classes of elementary school 
children are taken to galleries, churches, and museums ; 
but anyone who has followed the children and the 


teacher in charge of one of these parties, will realize how 
much of the time is wasted. The children, with their 
sketchbooks, are quite bewildered, and can only bring 
curiosity, and not the beginnings of understanding, to the 
bewildering objects that surround them on every side. 
The teacher endeavours to explain the history of the 
works of art, but the children, restless as ants, and 
continually distracted by what is around them, seem to 
pay scant attention. The whole visit would be doubled 
in value if a story lesson had preceded it. 

It must be remembered that lessons on the history of 
art are not intended to take the place of the usual " art " 
or drawing lessons which are quite a different matter, 
but should be supplementary to them. One of the great 
drawbacks to our modern art teaching is that it turns out 
hundreds of students with a certain amount of technical 
skill, but no genuine creative impulse, and it is the work 
of these men and women that crowds our modern picture 
exhibitions, to the detriment of the few real works of art 
that are to be found there. If these same students had 
systematically studied the masterpieces of art during their 
school days and at the art school itself, their critical 
faculty would have developed and they would be able to 
see their own work in a true light. It would then become 
impossible for them to attempt to become professional 
artists, and as a result picture exhibitions would be 
smaller and less crowded, while the interest of the general 
public would be turned to works of genuine merit. It 
does not follow that those who can paint and draw 
themselves, are also able to appreciate the art of other 



times ; neither is it true that the critic with an instinctive 
Jlair for the beauty of form has also the creative gift. 
They are two separate things, which may or may not be 
found in the same person. 

There are many practical ways in which a teacher can 
help her children to a love of art. She can encourage 
them to buy brown paper books and spend their pennies 
in filling them with some of the many excellent post cards 
reproducing ancient and modern art : she can help them 
to buy frames Vv'ith movable backs, and each week lend 
them pictures to fill them. In Sweden school journeys 
are encouraged by the government and groups of ten or 
more children are allowed to travel on the state railways 
at a nominal rate, sometimes for eight or ten days at a 
time, in order that they may see industrial centres and 
places of historic or artistic interest. In England the 
average school devotes six hours a week to mathematics. 
Without in any way underrating the great value and 
necessity of this subject, could not one hour out of these 
six be better employed if spent in giving the girls or boys 
an interest in art which might grow with years, adding 
its keen delight to the forces that made for their happi- 
ness ? Town dwellers would find their museums to be 
treasure trove, instead of sources of boredom and be- 
wilderment : those who lived in the country would discover 
in the fabric of their old churches a lasting interest. 

All who have been brought up on the stories of 
Mrs Ewing will remember the words of Eleanor 
Arkwright : " I do often feel so thankful to my mother 
for having given us plenty of rational interests. I could 


really imagine even our quarrelling and getting tired of 
each other if we had nothing but ourselves in common. 
Do you remember mother's saying, long ago, that intel- 
lectual pleasures have this in common with the consola- 
tions of religion, that they are such as the world can 
neither give nor take away." 


IN order that the lessons contained in this book should 
be of greater service, a series of lantern slides, and a 
number of illustrations in post-card form, of ancient and 
medieval works of art, have been prepared for the use of 
teachers. They have been carefully chosen to illustrate 
the different points in each lesson, and owing to the kind 
and generous co-operation of a number of friends of 
education, many of them have been made from private 

The lantern slides have been made by Messrs Newton, 
ly King Street, Covent Garden, London, W.C., from 
whom they can be bought or hired. The agents for the 
sale of the post-cards are Messrs Clarke & Davies, 38-39 
Museum Street, London, W.C. P'ull particulars will be 
sent on application to either of the above addresses. 


" Man's desires are limited by his perceptions. None can desire what he 
has not perceived."' — Blake. 

" Thou, O God, dost sell unto us all good things at the price of labour." — 
Leonardo da Vinci. 

'* Understanding is a well-spring of life to him that hath it."' — Proverbs. 

" Cultivate imagination until it becomes vision." — Blake. 

The world is so full of a number of things, 
I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings." 

R. L. Stevenson, 

"Life without industry is guilt, and industry without art is brutality." — 

" The first spiritual want of barbarous man is decoration." — Carlisle. 

" Every artificer and workman . . . all these put their trust in their hands, 

and each becometh wise in his generation. . . . They will maintain the 
fabric of the world and in the handiwork of their craft is their prayer." — 

" Man makes beauty of that which he loves." — Renan. 

" I assert for myself that I do not behold the outward creation and that to 
me it is hindrance, not action. ' What 1 ' it will be questioned, 'when the 
sun rises do you not see a round disk somewhat like a guinea ? ' ' Oh no, no ! 
I see an innumerable company of the Heavenly Host singing "Holy, Holy, 
Holy is the Lord God Almighty ! "' I question not my corporal eye any more 
than I would question a window concerning a sight. I look through it, not 
with it.'" — Blake. 

" Beauty ; the vision whereunto 
In joy, with pantings from afar. 
Through sound and odour, form and hue, 
And mind and clay and worm and star — 
Now touching goal, now backward hurled — 
Toils the indomitable world." 

W. Watson. 





Part I. — Elementary Lesson in Story Form 

INTRODUCTION— This is a story about the first artists who 
ever lived. They were born so long ago that at that time even 
the earth looked different from the earth of to-day, for there 
was no sea between England and France, and people could walk on 
dry land from France to Africa. So long ago was it that no one 
can tell how many thousands of years have passed since then. We 
cannot even tell if these men, who lived before history, had a 
language as we have. In the story, however, they will be made to 
speak as we do. 

I. The Cave— It is evening, and a father and mother 
and two children are making their way over some rolling 
upland country in the north of Spain. They are savage- 
looking folk, dressed in a few skins only. Their hair is 
long and flowing, and their faces and bare arms are 
painted with curious patterns. The father carries a bundle 
tied in a skin containing the family's worldly goods, and 
he has also a long wooden spear, the end of which is 
tipped, not with metal, which is as yet undiscovered, but 
with flint, a hard kind of stone. Round his waist an axe 
is fastened, also flint-headed. It is getting late, and the 
sun is sinking behind the hills, but the travellers do not 


seem to be tired. They are strong and muscular, and 
the mother seems to be as unconscious of the weight of 
her baby as the father is of his burdens. The boy, who 
is also armed with a spear, runs backwards and forwards 
until a call from his father summons him to return. 
" You must keep near me," he says ; " how often have I 
told you that this hour is a dangerous one. Who knows 
how many bears may be concealed in these thickets ; and 
listen ! Surely that is the snarling of hyenas ; perhaps 
they are stalking us at this minute." The mother holds 
her baby more closely, and the father grasps his stone 
dagger, but after listening intently for a minute the sounds 
die away in the distance and the family resumes its 

/\t last the boy calls out, " See, surely that is the 
mouth of the cave ! Smell the smoke of a camp fire, now, 
when the wind blows this way ! " They hurry on and 
presently arrive at a steep hill-side, in the middle of which 
the mouth of the cave is visible. The father enters it, 
followed by his wife and son, and the boy coughs, for the 
cavern seems half full of smoke. There is a fire burning 
on the ground, and round it are seated a group of men, 
women, and children, as wild and savage-looking as the 
new-comers. On seeing the strangers a man leaps to his 
feet, grasping his spear, but recognizing the father he 
drops it by his side. " So you are back from your 
wanderings," he exclaims. " Are these your wife and 
children ? I suppose you will settle down for a little 
now with the rest of us." The father explains that he 
has done with wandering with other branches of tha tribe 
and has come back to the old cave, to live and hunt with 
his former friends. A woman squatting on the ground 
motions the new-comers to be seated, and they are soon 
busy over some pieces of roasted bison and mammoth, 


tearing the flesh off the bones with their teeth and fingers, 
and then breaking the bones with sharp flints and sucking 
the juicy marrow. The meal over, they roll themselves 
in warm skins, and, lying round the fire, are soon asleep. 
At the mouth of the cave one of the hunters keeps watch, 
ready to raise an alarm should a great cave bear or a 
tiger try to force a way in during the night. 

2. The Paintings — The next morning all are astir 
with the dawn, for the men of the tribe are going on a 
hunting expedition. The larder is nearly empty, and 
unless thev can kill a bison there will be nothinsr to eat 
in the cave. The boy begs his father to let him come too. 
" I am strong and swift and can take care of myself," he 
cries; "you know I can shoot straight too." His father 
consents, but adds, " I must make my drawing first. I will 
draw and paint a great fat bison, and then perhaps the 
animal will be under a spell, and the unseen powers may 
send me luck, and I may kill him with straight aim and 
swift spear." He stoops and takes from his bundle three 
small hollow bones filled with red, yellow, and black 
powder. Then rubbing two flints together he makes the 
sparks fly until a small flame is kindled. Lighting a small 
stone lamp he turns and enters a lower recess to the left 
of the cave entrance. The boy follows, and with the help 
of the tiny flame can see that, above his head, the rocky 
roof is covered with a number of paintings and drawings 
of bison and other animals. His father now hands him 
the light and begins to mix his colours with liquid. The 
boy gives an involuntary shudder, for the place in the dim 
light seems uncanny and mysterious. He stands very 
close to his father and watches him, fascinated, as, kneel- 
ing with head thrown back, he draws in outline on the 
low roof the spirited figure of a bison. After smearing 
a lump of reddish colour on its body with his fingers, he 


then takes a brush and deftly finishes the figure, giving 
the animal a thick dark mane, little bright beady eyes, 
and delicately executed feet. The boy almost gasps. The 
creature looks as if it were alive ! His father meanwhile 
is gazing at the figure, moving his arms, and muttering 
strange words. " Now may the unseen spirit send me 
this fat bison to-day," he says, and returns with the boy 
to the outer cave, where preparations for the hunt are in 
full progress. Soon the stone heads of the spears and 
daggers are sharpened and the men start off, while the 
women look after them wistfully, knowing full well the 
dangers to which they will be exposed. 

3. The Hunt — -The men and the boy pass down the 
dew-drenched hill-side, and cautiously enter the thick 
forest below. Great yews, oaks, and firs throw a dense 
shade, and leaving the sunshine the hunters plunge into 
the forest, pushing their way through the undergrowth, 
while the boy follows closely at their heels, his dark eyes 
bright and alert. " Let us go by the river and make a 
pit by the animals' drinking-place," the leader suggests. 
" In that way we might get a mammoth, and his flesh 
would provide us with meals for many a long day." So 
the hunters make a halt by the river at a place where a 
track is clearly visible among the bushes. They have no 
spades, but with the aid of flattened and pointed pieces 
of wood and stone the pit is begun. By nightfall it is 
completed, and over it the men lay branches of trees and 
sods of grass. When leaves and earth are sprinkled over 
this light structure, their task is done, and, finding an open 
clearing, they light a great fire to frighten away the wild 
beasts, and, leaving some of the men to watch, the rest are 
soon asleep. 

The next morning before daybreak the hunters, tread- 
ing lightly, return to the river-side. The pit is untouched. 





f Frofii an exteitded facshnile ) 



( Frojiz a ivater-coloicr hy the Abb>: Brciiilj 


but hardly have they examined it before one of the men, 
laying his ear to the ground, whispers that he can detect 
the heavy tread of some great animal. " An elephant or a 
mammoth," he cries ; " the wind blows the other way ; it 
will suspect nothing ; quick, hide." The men disappear 
noiselessly among the trees, and the boy, as agile as a 
young monkey, swings himself up into the branches of a 
large tree. After a few minutes, which seem like hours, 
he hears a trampling, and sees an enormous beast pushing 
its way through the bushes. It is far larger than an 
elephant, and is covered with a thick, hairy coat of grey. 
Its mane, which is of a reddish brown, falls nearly to its 
knees, and two immense ivory tusks curl on either side of 
its long trunk. The great lumbering beast pauses, look- 
ing around it with little beady eyes, as if scenting some 
disturbance. Then, catching sight of the river, it starts 
forward again grunting and pulling branches from the 
young willows as it passes. Suddenly there is a crash. 
The mammoth has trodden on the branches and turf and 
is in the pit ! The boy gives a shout of triumph, and the 
hunters, arriving quickly on the scene, soon put the poor 
beast out of its pain. That night, by the light of the big 
camp fire, there is a great feast, and the flesh is cut off the 
mammoth in readiness to be carried back to the cave. 
When the meal is over the hunters dance wildly round the 
fire, shouting and singing, while the flames light up their 
savage faces, streaming black hair, and their gaily painted 
limbs. The night is dark, and no moon penetrates the 
inky blackness of the forest that surrounds the little clear- 
ing. Suddenly out of the darkness a roar is heard, and a 
big tiger springs into the circle of light. In an instant the 
mad dancing is ended, and all are in deadly peril, until 
one of the hunters succeeds in placing a spear in the tiger's 


The next morning a procession starts homewards, the 
spoil being partly carried and partly dragged on wooden 
sledges. The boy still remembers the bison that his 
father had painted, but the latter only says, " Wait and see, 
we are not home yet. I may kill it still." Sure enough, 
on leaving the forest a whole herd of bison is discovered, 
one of which falls a victim to the father's spear. " So you 
did not paint him in vain," the boy cries. 

4. The Carvings — The next day the hunters rest 
from their labours. They kill so that they can have food 
to eat, and, at the moment, they have more than enough. 
The boy squats by the fire, telling the story of his adven- 
tures to his mother. " What was the mammoth like ? " she 
asks. " I have never seen one, for I seldom venture into 
the forest. The work in the cave takes up all my time, 
and these beasts must be shy, for they seldom come near 
one of our homes." " Why, he was very big and shaggy," 
answers the boy ; " he had little eyes, and a trunk, and his 
tusks were not straight like an elephant's, but were curved 
— see, like this." He makes a curve in the air with his 
finger, and then, dissatisfied, seizes a splinter of bone from 
the floor of the cave, and draws the curved outline of the 
tusks in the cinder dust at his feet. Pleased with what he 
has done he suddenly laughs, and adds the outline of the 
head, and puts a small dot for the eye. His mother, 
watching him admiringly, calls his father. " See," she 
says, " he has got your gifts, and can draw too, and why 
not, when he is your son, and you are the cleverest artist 
of the whole tribe?" The father is greatly pleased, and 
begins to improve the occasion and give his son a lesson. 
Taking a small piece of reindeer's horn, he engraves on it 
with a pointed flint the outline of the reindeer itself, with 
its big branching horns. He then gives a small flat stone 
to the boy. " Try yourself and scratch the figure of a deer 


on it," he says, " When you get older, and have learnt how 
to draw and paint and carve animals, then you can barter 
their images done on small stones, and can get meat and 
ivory and colour or good spears and daggers in exchange. 
The men will love to carry the drawings and carvings that 
you have made, for they may bring them luck in their 
hunting." So when the snowy owl hooted that night in the 
darkness, and the hunters lay sleeping, and the tiny cave 
mouse scuttled about among the bones and the cinders, the 
boy lay smiling in his sleep, because he had found out that 
he could draw, and was very happy. 

5. The Cave of Altamira — Thousands of years 
passed. The climate of Europe changed, and melting 
snows filled the great rivers, which in their turn overflowed 
and turned plains and woods into marshes and swamps. 
Some of the tribes of hunters died out, and others migrated 
to distant lands. Part of the rock at the cave's entrance 
fell down and blocked it up completely, so that nobody 
knew it was there. Again thousands of years passed, 
nobody knows how many. Then one day some blasting 
near the cave shook the hill-side, and the rocks sealing the 
opening fell down, and a tiny entrance was revealed. Not 
very long after a Spanish nobleman found the opening, and 
on entering discovered that the floor of the cave was covered 
with bones of animals, long extinct, and with stone imple- 
ments and the ashes and bones of an ancient kitchen. One 
day he came again to hunt on the cavern floor, and 
brought his little daughter with him. Suddenly he heard 
her call out, " A bull." On going to find out what she 
meant, he discovered her in a low part of the cave, point- 
ing to the rocky roof above her. When he looked to see 
what it was that she had found, he saw clearly in the dim 
light the painting of a bison (which she took to be a bull). 


and round it many other figures of bison and other 
animals, some of them of life size. These were the figures 
drawn so many thousands of }'ears ago by the ancient 
hunters, and ever since treasured and preserved by time 
in the keeping of the earth. 

Notes on the Story — All paragraphs but number 5 are naturally 

Part II. — AIaterial for Advanced Lessons only 

Prehistoric Man — The study of prehistoric man 
was first undertaken scientifically rather less than a 
hundred years ago. Since that time interest in the 
subject has grown steadily and rapidly, and a number of 
able scientists and archeologists have devoted themselves 
to examining geological strata, and tabulating the results 
of their discoveries in scientific form. Part of a human 
skull found in Java in i 890 seems to point to the presence 
of the " Missing Link," the creature half ape, half man, 
from which man is descended. Skulls found still more 
recently near Heidelberg and in Sussex prove that the 
earliest men were of a very primitive type, with flattened^ 
brains and possibly without the power of speech. Part of 
a skull found in the Neanderthal in Germany is witness 
to a human type of a somewhat more intellectual stamp, 
but we have to wait until a later period than this before 
we find the first artists who, according to the Abbe Breuil, 
were of an immigrant race which migrated into Europe 
and succeeded the Neanderthal race of men. These first 
artists were hunters, men living a precarious life in open 
camps, finding shelter in rocky caverns, and exposed at all 
times to the attacks of wild beasts more powerful than 
they. They had not as yet learnt agriculture or the art 
of domesticating animals, and metals were unknown to 


them. Their implements were made of flint, and later of 
ivory, bone, and horn. In the place of bottles they used 
skins ; pottery was not yet invented. The bones of these 
ancient hunters, together with those of their quarry and 
also the works of their hands, were buried during the course 
of time on river bank and cavern floor, there to lie sealed 
and undisturbed for tens of thousands of years. Now, in 
the twentieth century after Christ, the hand of man has 
laid them bare, and their relation to the geological strata 
which held them has enabled scientists and archeologists 
to indicate their position in the annals of time. 

The Paleolithic artist is an isolated phenomenon. At 
the close of the epoch a change in climate again took 
place, and the increased warmth caused the higher fields 
of ice and snow to melt. The great rivers overflowed 
their banks, and plains were turned into vast swamps, 
while many of the caves were filled with water. The 
reindeer retreated to higher altitudes, and the ancient 
hunters were probably partly exterminated. After a great 
lapse of time we meet a fresh European civilization, that of 
the Neolithic or Polished Stone Age. Neolithic man had 
learnt to make pottery, had mastered the science of agri- 
culture, and had learnt to tame and domesticate animals. 
Rude stone monuments such as Stonehenge and the 
Dolmens of Brittany reveal him as the possessor of the 
first architectural impulse, but the power of the sculptor 
and painter had been lost, and no works of art of this age 
have been found. Following the Neolithic Epoch we 
have the various ages of metal, which comprise, among 
others, the early civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and 
the /Egean. 

Although primitive man has long since passed away 
from the greater part of the world's face, he is still re- 
presented by certain savage races, such as the Australian 


Aborigines, the Bushmen of S. Africa and the Eskimos. 
The Tasmanians were even more striking examples of 
men who had remained at the Early Stone Age state of 
development, but this race became extinct nearly fifty 
years ago. It is by observing these primitive peoples 
that we are helped to gain an understanding of the life of 
Paleolithic man, for modern research has proved that in 
many respects the customs and arts of the former are 
nearly identical with those practised by the latter, and 
that the thousands of years that separate the past and 
present-day savages have done little to forward the latter's 

In order to make clear the place of the first artists 
in the world's history the following summary may prove 
useful : — 

Divisions of Earth's History by Geological 


Primary Epoch — Age of fish, sea-weed and ferns. 
First appearance of terrestrial vertebrates. 

Secondary Epoch — Reptiles highly developed. Birds 
appear. Numerous early mammalian remains. Ichthyo- 
saurus, etc. 

Tertiary Epoch — Subdivided into four periods : the 
Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, and Pliocene. During this 
incalculably remote age the surface of the earth suffered 
many changes, and many of the great mountain ranges 
were formed. At first the northern hemisphere possessed 
a warm climate ; coral reefs have been found in regions 
now polar, while palm trees grew in Switzerland. During 
the later part of the epoch the continent took approxi- 
mately its present form. During the Tertiary epoch the 
earth was inhabited by great mammals, such as the 


mastodon, stegodon, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, the Elephas 
antiquus and the great apes. The existence of man during 
this epoch is still unproved. 

Quaternary Epoch — Subdivided into the Pleistocene 
and the Holocene periods, in the second of which we are 
now living. The Great Ice Age occurred during the 
Pleistocene period, and it is believed to have included four 
separate glacial epochs in Europe, with intervening periods 
of heat and luxuriant flora. During the early Pleistocene 
period no channel divided England and France, and the 
Irish Sea and German Ocean were 'fertile plains. The 
Adriatic Sea was non-existent, and two small inland seas 
lay where the Mediterranean now separates Europe from 
Africa. Europe was inhabited by the mammoth, cave 
bear, soft-nosed rhinoceros, elephant, sabre-toothed tiger, 
hyena, wild horse, reindeer, stag, etc., etc. The first 
definite trace of man is found during the Pleistocene 
period (Java, Sussex, Heidelberg, and Neanderthal 
skulls). A further classification of the Quaternary Epoch 
is as follows: (i) Paleolithic, or Early Stone Age 
(Pleistocene period), and (2) Neolithic, or Later Stone Age, 
followed by the Bronze, Iron, and Steel Ages. The men 
of the Pleistocene period are also known as " Drift Men," 
as they date from the period of drifted strata, originally 
washed up on ancient river banks or cavern floors. Many 
of these caverns in which the Drift Men lived are now 
high up on the slopes of valley or hill-side, while the great 
rivers that flowed past them have long since dried up or are 
represented by streams in the valley beds below. 

The Origin of Painting and Sculpture — The arts 
of painting and sculpture are believed to be two-fold in 
origin. Modern savages paint themselves in order to add 
to their charms by means of decoration and colour, or else 
for the purpose of covering themselves with a substance 


that will serve as a protection against heat or the bites of 
insects. It is probable that primitive man also painted his 
skin, and in this way first learnt to mix colours and apply 
them with effect. The second cause which gave birth to 
these arts was no doubt found in gesture, used to convey 
knowledge. A hunter saw a strange wild beast far away 
in the forest. " What was it like ?" he would be asked on 
his return. With his finger he would trace its shape in the 
air, or, squatting on the ground, would try to model it in 
clay or draw its outline in the mud with his finger or with 
a pointed stick, as is the habit of the bushmen of to-day. 
When colours were arranged decoratively, with a feeling 
for design and rhythm, and when the rough sketch or 
model of the animal showed powers of observation, and a 
feeling for characterization and line, then reason and the 
powers of the mind had been brought into play, and we have 
the beginning of the so-called " fine arts." 

There seems little doubt that even at this early age art 
was connected with religion, or rather with the magical 
rites which no doubt took its place. The American 
Indians draw on the rocks the animals that they desire to 
capture for their food, and if they want wet weather, they 
make a sketch of rain. Before these drawings they per- 
form incantations and prayers. In a similar way it is 
probable that the drawings and paintings of animals found 
in the caves of the ancient hunters were executed for the 
same purpose. This theory seems all the more reasonable 
when it is remembered that the cave paintings and draw- 
ings are almost . invariably executed in some dark or 
distant part of the cave, where daylight cannot penetrate 
and artificial light would have to be used. There is always 
something uncanny and mysterious about a cave, and no 
doubt the inner recesses of these early habitations of men 
were regarded as the haunts of supernatural powers. The 


cave at Font-de-Gaume, which is decorated with over a 
hundred figures of animals, is so long and narrow that it is 
more Hke a passage than a cave, and it could hardly have 
been used as a dwelling for man. It was probably some 
form of temple, and it has been remarked that scarcely any 
implements or relics of a dwelling have been found in its 
floor deposits. Another fact that points to the religious 
origin of the paintings and drawings is that almost without 
exception they represent animals suitable for food. Primi- 
tive man must have chiefly lived on the flesh of the mam- 
moth, bison, reindeer, stag and horse, and it is these and 
similar animals that are depicted by hundreds on the walls 
of the caves. Representations of the savage carnivora, 
the lion, the sabre-toothed tiger, the hyena, and the cave 
bear are seldom found. In certain instances the figure of 
an animal has been represented as transfixed with an 
arrow, no doubt as an indication of the hunter's desire. In 
the same way the drawings of animals on small stones, 
and the small carved figures, may have been considered as 
some form of token, which when carried by the hunter 
would serve to give him power over the animal represented. 
It may be remembered also in this connection that animal 
worship formed part of the religionof the ancient Egyptians. 
We cannot tell how much these early works of art owe to 
utility and how much to the painter or sculptor's delight 
in the representation of nature and to his natural instinct 
for self-expression. Although his work was primarily 
utilitarian in conception, the creative and aesthetic elements 
must have played no small part in its production, for with- 
out them we could never have had such genuine works of 
art. It was also obviously owing to these elements, and not 
to utility, that dagger heads and batons de conimandement 
were so elaborately decorated. 

Art of the Paleolithic Age — These first works of 


art have been found, almost without exception, in the 
caves and rock shelters in France, Spain, and Belgium. 
In many instances the infiltration of water charged 
with lime has sealed the drawings and sculptures on 
the walls, and also those in the earth, under an imperme- 
able coating of stalagmite, which has preserved them intact 
during the thousands of years that have passed, and which 
has been recognized by geologists as a paleolithic deposit. 
In other places parts of the caves have fallen in, and in this 
wa}^ the entrances have been blocked and the contents 
hermeticallysealed until recent years. The floors of many of 
the caveshave yielded layer after layer of slowlyaccumulated 
deposit, each stratum containing implements and artistic 
remains, and the bones of animals peculiar to a particular 
stage of human development. For example, in a cave at 
Pair-non-Pair, in France, seven different layers of occupa- 
tion were found, each covered with a fairly thick layer of 
stones and mud, and eachquite distinct fromthe other. When 
in this way sculptures, drawings, and stone implements 
have been found in the same stratum with certain combina- 
tions of animals' bones, experts are able to gauge, with some 
certainty, the epoch in which the early artist lived. 

A comparison of these objects with bones and stone im- 
plements found on the ancient banks of rivers has also been 
invaluable in solving these problems of archeology. There 
are over thirty of the caverns now discovered and explored, 
and the greater number of them have been found singularly 
undisturbed. Some slight damage has been done in certain 
instances, probably in the sixteenth century, when search 
was made for the bones of the mythical unicorn, then con- 
sidered an antidote to disease. In many cases the draw- 
ings and paintings are so faint that only the eye of an 
expert can discover them ; on the other hand, some are mar- 
vellously preserved. Although composition and grouping 






have hardly ever been attempted in these drawings and 
paintings, and the figures are rarely conceived in relation 
to each other, these early works of art show astonishing 
merit. They are spirited in conception, the drawing is 
free and direct, and the special characteristics of the animal 
represented are faithfully observed and reproduced. Not 
until comparatively modern times do we find again such 
skill in the delineation of movement. At this remote stage 
of human history man was more interested in animals 
than in himself, and Grosse accounts for the realism of 
Paleolithic art on sociological lines. " Power of observa- 
tion and skill with the hand are the qualities demanded for 
primitive naturalistic pictorial art, and the faculty of obser- 
vation and handiness of execution are at the same time the 
two indispensable requisites for the primitive hunter's life. 
Primitive pictorial art, with its peculiar characteristics, thus 
appears fully comprehensible to us, as an aesthetic exercise 
of two faculties which the struggle for existence has 
developed and improved among primitive people."^ 

The earliest works of art are the carvings in relief 
and in the round, chiefly executed in mammoth and 
elephant ivory. Following on these come the paintings, 
and lastly the drawings. Towards the end of the paleo- 
lithic epoch, reindeer bone and horn were almost ex- 
clusively used for carvings and incised drawings. Although 
most of the drawings and sculptures represent animals, a 
number have been found with man as their subject. Among 
them is a small ivory head of a young girl, marvellously 
preserved, with hair arranged somewhat in the manner 
of an early Egyptian (see Plate II.). Of the features 
the mouth alone is wanting, a trait which has often been 
observed in the drawings by young children. Some small 
figurines of women have also been found, most of them 

^ The Beginnings of Arl. Grosse. New York. 


lacking the heads, and some the legs. In no cases, how- 
ever, are the features of drawings or sculptures clear 
enough or well enough executed to serve as an illustration of 
the human type that they represent. Among objects of the 
late Pleistocene age found in the caves are some curious 
implements made out of the antlers of reindeer, generally 
perforated with one or more holes, and often elaborately 
carved. These batons de coniinan dement, as the French 
call them, have been explained in various ways, among 
them being the following : — (i) For use in killing game ; 
(2) as arrow straighteners ; (3) as objects of some super- 
stitious practice ; (4) as sceptres, the number of holes 
perhaps showing the dignity of the chief 

Perhaps the most famous of all the paleolithic works of 
art are the paintings in the cave of Altamira, near Santander, 
in northern Spain. Since prehistoric times the entrance 
to this cavern has been hermetically sealed by a fall of 
rock which became cemented with stalagmite deposit. 
During the second half of last century blasting operations 
in the neighbourhood caused a fresh fall of rock, which 
caused an opening to be made again into the cave. This 
opening was shortly afterwards discovered by the Marquis 
de Sautuola, the owner of the land (see paragraph 5 of 
the story). A full description of these astonishing paint- 
ings was published in 1880, but it was not until 1901 
that the scepticism with which they were received began 
to yield, and fresh discoveries of a similar kind opened the 
eyes of modern archeologists to the existence of genuine 
prehistoric works of art of undreamt-of merit. The 
recent publication of M. Cartailhac and the Abbe Breuil, 
La caverne d' Altamira a Santillane pres Santander, has 
furnished excellent coloured reproductions of the paintings, 
and also a full description of the cave. The paintings are 
executed on the roof of a recess to the left of the cave 


entrance. The recess is so low that the artists must have 
had to crouch or lie on their backs in order to carry them 
out, and it is also so situated that artificial light must have 
been necessary in order either to execute them or to see 
them. The earliest of the drawings are figures outlined in 
black. Next in date are paintings washed in with red, 
and then follow some incised drawings, excellent in work- 
manship. Then come the polychromes, boldly sketched 
in three colours. The latest of these are the masterpieces 
of Paleolithic art. The surface of the rock has been care- 
fully prepared for their execution, and earlier drawings or 
paintings have been washed off, or scraped, to make a 
place for them. The colours used are black, red, brown, 
and various shades of yellow, obtained from mineral sub- 
stances such as iron-ore, etc., ground to powder and kept 
in small tubes made from the bones of reindeer. (One of 
these has been found which still contains the pigment.) 
The outlines of the figures were first sketched in in black 
paint, and in some instances also emphasized by engraving. 
Afterwards the colour was smeared on, and lastly the 
modelling and all details were added with a brush. 

Although the cavern of Altamira is the most famous 
museum of prehistoric art, there are a number of other 
caves in France and Spain hardly less famous, and every 
few months fresh discoveries are being reported. In the 
Grotte des Combarelles, a cave so narrow and low that it 
is more like a long passage, a complete series of engravings 
starts about half-way down its length, where the darkness is 
complete, and continues along either side for a distance of 
100 metres. Among the hundred animals represented 
there are no less than fourteen mammoths. 

Many cave engravings and paintings are accompanied 
by curious and indecipherable signs and marks, and im- 
prints of the human hand are frequently met with. Among 


the debris of ancient hearths found in the strata of the 
cave floors, numberless implements in flint, bone, and horn 
have been discovered, such as arrow heads, daggers, har- 
poons, a lamp decorated with engravings of reindeer, 
ivory chisels, bone needles, throwing sticks, etc. Many of 
these objects are elaborately decorated. 

The art of the Paleolithic Age has been so recently re- 
vealed, and is at present attracting so much attention, both 
from the professional and amateur archeologist, that fresh 
and important discoveries may be expected at any time, 
and may serve either to add fresh proof to, or else to 
upset, existing theories. As far as the chronology of the 
period is concerned, and the dates assigned to various 
works of art, it must be remembered that the estimates of 
several of the most famous experts differ from each other 
■ by many thousands of years. According to the most con- 
servative estimates of the leading specialists, however, the 
%. Pleistocene age came to an end some fifteen thousand 
years ago, while its duration has been estimated by Dr 
Arthur Keith at four hundred thousand years. The 
rough estimate of the age of the Altamira cave paintings 
is generally given as fifty thousand years. 

Part I. — Elementary Lessons in Story Form 


INTRODUCTION — Thousands and thousands of years passed, 
nobody knows how many. The face of the earth changed ; land 
formed where there was sea, and seas dried up. The mammoth 
disappeared and the great cave bears, and reindeer survived in 
northern lands only. Men learnt how to tame wild animals and to 
cultivate the land : they learnt how to make weapons and bowls out 
of different kinds of metal, instead of only out of stone, and they 
began to make buildings and statues also. The earliest people to be 
civilized in this way were the people who lived in Egypt and Babylonia. 
This is a story about some ancient Egyptians. 

I. Rahotep and Nefert — Once upon a time, long 
ago, about three thousand years before the time of Christ, 
two Egyptians were sitting in an arbour in their garden, 
not very far from the river Nile. The man was called 
Rahotep, and he was a general of infantry, and a prince of 
royal blood. His wife, the Lady Nefert ("The Beautiful"), 
was clever and shrewd, and loved her babies, who were 
playing by the fishpond, guarded by two slaves, who stood 
near to look after them. The children laughed as. they 
played and called each other by their names, which were 
very different from our names — " Cool-Breeze," " Gold-and- 
lapis-lazuli," " Little-wild-lion," and " I-have-wanted-you." 
The day was very hot. No wind stirred in the palm 



trees, and the sky above was blue and cloudless, A slave 
stood by his master and mistress, who were playing 
draughts, and slowly fanned them with a great palm leaf 
fan to keep them cool. The babies, who, like other babies 
in that hot country, wore no clothes, splashed in and 
out of the fishpond, trying, with shouts of laughter, to 
catch the gold and silver fish. The garden was full of 
trees — sycamore, fig, palms and vines — and there were 
lotus flowers and lilies and gay creeping plants. Musicians 
squatted cross-legged on the ground with their flutes and 
pipes, and standing by them was a man with a big many- 
stringed harp. At a signal from Prince Rahotep a slave 
ran to the players, and the children splashed out of the 
water and sat round, listening to the low-toned, monotonous 
Egyptian melodies. 

Presently the Lord Rahotep proposed a hunting expedi- 
tion, and when the day became cooler he set out, accom- 
panied by his wife, and two slaves to row his skiff. The 
sun was setting, and, as the boat glided out upon the great 
swamps and marshes by the river Nile, the broad fields of 
waving wheat and barley were turned to a still deeper 
gold in the evening light. The houses and the palaces of 
Memphis stood out sharply in the clear air, and in the 
distance towered a huge mass of masonry — the giant 
pyramid that the King was building over his tomb. Great 
flocks of wild fowl flew out from the reeds, and Rahotep, 
standing in the bows of his boat, let fly his throw-stick, 
which his slaves had put in the boat. When he had 
killed enough wild fowl to replenish the larder, he took a 
double-pointed fish-spear, and, looking down into the clear 
water, tried to harpoon two fish at a time. As the twi- 
light fell, the boat was rowed home again, and the Lady 
Nefert trailed her hand in the cool water. She gathered 
great white and blue lotus flowers, or water-lilies, but 


had to beware lest a crocodile should be lurking in the 
deeper pools. As the skiff was pulled ashore some 
great boats, rowed by scores of oarsmen, passed by them 
and anchored at the quays. They were filled with blocks 
of alabaster, green malachite, lapis-lazuli, copper, and 
pieces of soft stone, in which ran veins of the bluest 
turquoise. They had come from the mines in Sinai, and 
were now unloaded by black slaves, who staggered under 
the weight of their burdens, and piled them in great heaps 
on the quays. " To-morrow we must buy some," cried 
Rahotep. " We must get some beautiful things made for 
our tomb." They were young and strong and well, but, 
like all rich Egyptians, they were preparing the tomb 
where they would eventually lie. 

2. The Great King — The next morning Rahotep 
and Nefert were commanded to pay a visit at the palace. 
The King was considered to be a god and was worshipped 
by the people, but the nobles were allowed to see him, 
and their sons were brought up with his sons. Rahotep 
and Nefert put on their best clothes, which were very 
simple. Rahotep wore a short linen kilt secured by a 
girdle and band, and Nefert a long, closely-fitting sleeve- 
less garment of the finest linen possible, fastened by 
two bands over her shoulders. Each wore necklaces and 
collars made of coloured beads, pieces of turquoise, and 
other stones. They took off the short black wigs which 
all Egyptians wore, and over their shaven heads put on 
the long ones, with the hair parted in the middle, which 
were kept for ceremonial occasions. Rahotep took his 
long staff, and they set off to the palace. Horses were 
not known, and the streets were full of asses and oxen. 
They passed the rough mud hovels where the poor lived, 
and the houses of the rich, which were built of wood and 
sun-dried brick, with gay hangings falling over the window 


spaces and open doors. The King's palace was built like 
the houses of the nobles, but it was far bigger and was 
surrounded by brick fortifications and beautiful gardens. 
Rahotep and Nefert were known to the guards, who let 
them pass, and soon they emerged from the courts, which 
were crowded with soldiers armed with long spears, bows 
and arrows, and arrived at the great hall of audience. 

The hall had very little furniture ; just a few rugs, 
chairs, stools, and chests inlaid with ivory, on which were 
standing richly carved vases. Crowds of courtiers filled 
the room, and servants of the King came and went — 
" the Overseer of the Cosmetic Box," " the Overseer of the 
Cosmetic Pencil," guardians of the royal wardrobe, per- 
fumers, launderers, bleachers, and wig-makers. Marshals 
and court chamberlains stood in groups, and saw that all 
conformed to the rigid court etiquette which none might 
disobey. A marshal advanced to Rahotep and Nefert. 
He could not mention the name of the King, who was a 
god, so he said to them instead, " I shall let one know 
you are here," which was the impersonal way in which 
the King had to be mentioned. The King having ex- 
pressed himself willing to see them, Rahotep and Nefert 
advanced before him, and, falling on their faces, kissed 
the ground at his feet. A king had once been known to 
allow a noble to kiss his foot, but this was an unheard- 
of honour, never repeated. Sounds of music were heard, 
and Rahotep and Nefert, sitting on one side of the throne, 
watched some lithe Egyptian girls who danced before the 
King a slow, graceful dance with curious rhythmic move- 
ments. The King ordered gifts to be sent to them, and 
fruit and wine were brought in and handed to the guests. 
The high priest of Ptah, the great god of Memphis, and 
patron of all art-workers, was next announced. He was 
the King's chief architect, and had come to report upon 


the building of the pyramid. The guests withdrew, and 
Rahotep and Nefert, though much honoured at the friend- 
ship of the King, were not sorry to leave court etiquette 
behind them, and to return to their babies and their cool 
garden at home. 

3. The Tombs — The river Nile was in flood and its 
waters were overflowing the banks on either side. Not 
far from the river the King was building his great 
pyramid. One morning Rahotep and Nefert decided to 
see how the work was getting on. They were rowed 
over the flooded fields until they came to the stone cause- 
way, which had been built from the pyramid down to the 
water. Here they ordered the slaves to stop rowing 
while they watched the big rafts fastened at the end of 
the causeway, from which the huge blocks of stone were 
being removed. The blocks were then slowly dragged up 
the causeway by hundreds of slaves. When these poor 
creatures stumbled and fell in their weariness, the over- 
seer's whip was in readiness, and Nefert covered her eyes, 
for she could not bear to see their sufferings under the 
scorching sun. She begged Rahotep to come away, and 
they left their boat, and walked to the base of the great 
pyramid, which looked like a vast mountain of stone 
towering above them into the blue sky. In the middle 
of it, hidden away, was a little room, in which the great 
King would one day be buried. " The world has never 
seen such a mighty tomb as this," said Rahotep. " All 
who come after will know how majestic was our great god 
the King." A procession of priests passed by on their 
way to Memphis, and Rahotep was roused from his 
thoughts and suggested that they should now pay a visit 
to their own tomb, which was not very far away, in the 
shadow of the great pyramid. 

The tomb was a long, solid red-brick building, in the 


centre of which was hollowed out a little chapel, and a 
secret chamber built to contain their portrait statues. 
Like all the Egyptians, Rahotep and Nefert believed that 
when they died their Kas, or doubles, would stay on earth 
and would want food to eat and a body to return to, and 
as they themselves would no longer be there, they had 
ordered two stone portrait statues to be executed as like 
themselves as the artist could make them, so that each Ka 
could find its counterfeit to which it could attach itself, 
Rahotep and Nefert were very proud when they saw how 
well their tomb was progressing, for every rich Egyptian 
prepared for his death in this way, as a matter of course. 
Some friends passed on the way to visit their tomb, and 
the Lady Nefert called to them, and showed them how 
the walls of her chapel were being covered with delicate 
carvings, cut in low relief out of the stone, and represent- 
ing scenes from their life. When their friends were gone, 
the husband and wife passed into the secret chamber. 
Nefert held a light above her head, and in the uncertain 
light two statues could be dimly seen. They represented 
herself and her husband sitting side by side, he in his 
short white kilt, she in a finely woven robe and with a 
thick wig and necklaces. The statues were just finished 
and the likenesses were excellent. Rahotep and Nefert 
then discussed together the other arrangements that they 
had made. A priest had been engaged who after their 
death would supply the food needed by their Kas in the 
tomb — ten different kinds of meat, five kinds of poultry, 
sixteen kinds of bread and cakes, six kinds of wine, four 
kinds of beer, eleven kinds of fruit, and many and varied 
kinds of sweets also. Husband and wife then went home 
together, feeling that now that their tombs were pre- 
pared, they could have free minds with which to enjoy 


OLD KINGDOM. C. 2gcx3 D.C. 


4. Nearly Five Thousand Years Later — Thousands 
of years passed. Empires were built up laboriously, had 
their hour of triumph, and faded away into the dim 
recesses of time. The English ruled in Egypt, and men 
from the great cities of Europe and America searched 
among her sands for traces of the life that was past. 

One day in winter, some forty years ago, a few work- 
men were hunting among some rubbish in the desert not 
far from the Meydum pyramid. Suddenly one of them gave 
a cry of surprise. He had found a small slab of stone, 
engraved with unknown words, and below it, half hidden 
in the sand, a little square door. The news was spread 
abroad, and a man was sent by the Government to report 
upon the discovery. He recognized the door as an 
opening to an ancient viastaba or brick tomb of the old 
Egyptian kingdom, and skilled workmen were sent to 
investigate it. After two days of work spent in clearing 
away the sand, a perfectly preserved niastaba was exposed 
to view. The square opening in the tomb was blocked 
by two carefully adjusted stones. When these were 
removed, and a ladder was let down, two more stones 
were discovered, and then again six others in pairs. What 
could be at the end of this carefully barricaded passage ? 
The stone-mason who was making his way down could 
only work very slowly, for the passage was so small 
that he had to keep in a horizontal position. 

At last the final block of stone gave way, and suddenly 
a puff of warm air was felt. Some open space was near. 
The stone-mason called for a light, and he was given a 
candle and told to go forward. He took a few steps, and 
then with a wild cry turned and made his way back along 
the passage. He was shaking with terror, and said that 
he had seen two live heads glaring at him from out of 
the darkness. The other men took lights, and at the end 


of the passage found themselves in a little room. Candles 
were held up high, and by their flickering light two statues 
could be clearly seen. They were carved and painted 
and seated side by side — a man and a woman, looking 
almost as if they were alive. All held their breath. 
The little chamber might have been prepared yesterday, 
and yet no foot had trodden there for nearly five thousand 
years. The veil of the past was lifted and ancient Egypt 
lived again. In the little chapel in the tomb, paintings 
and carvings were found, and a table for food. Who were 
the man and the woman who lived so long ago, before 
Abraham kept his sheep and Joseph served the proud 
Egyptian King ? An inscription revealed their names — 
the Lord Rahotep and the Lady Nefert. 


Introduction — After the deaths of Rahotep and Nefert, hundreds 
and hundreds of years passed, yet Egypt was still the most powerful 
nation in the world. To-day we are going to hear more about it. 
We are going to take three peeps into the past and see the country at the 
height of its power during the reigns of three great sovereigns. 

I. Queen Hatshepsut — The great Queen Hatshepsut 
is ruler of Egypt. She lives in a town on the banks of the 
Nile called Thebes. It is filled with great temples and 
palaces and beautiful gardens. Fleets of boats with great 
white sails sweep up the river to the quays, bearing treasure 
and merchandise from foreign lands. The Queen decides 
that she will build a temple at the foot of the cliffs 
by the desert, and sends for her architect Senmut. They 
consult together and choose as a site the base of some 
great cliffs. The architect draws plans and soon the 
building begins. It has long colonnades and terraces which 
gleam white in the scorching sunshine, and behind them 
are rooms and chapels. 


The Queen would like to have some green myrrh trees 
to plant on the terraces and fill the air with their sweet 
scent. Where can she get them from ? She goes to the 
temple to ask the god of Thebes, Amen-Ra, and in the 
dusk of the shrine she thinks she sees the statue of the 
god bow his head to her and say, " Go to the land of 
Punt, there you will find all you want." The Queen is 
full of excitement, and, leaving the deep gloom of the 
temple and the bowing priests, she goes out into the 
burning sunshine, and returning to her palace, calls her 
ministers and orders an expedition to be prepared. 

Some big ships are got ready, and her ambassador, 
and many soldiers, slaves, and seamen go on board. 
Crowds of people stand on the banks as the big sails are 
hoisted and the great boats are rowed down the river 
in search of the far-away land. They proceed by river 
and canals to the Red Sea, and at last sight the land of 
Punt. There are huts built on piles by the edge of the 
water, and at the sight of the ships the people swarm to 
the shores to view the strangers. The chief of the district 
comes forward with his wife and daughter and addresses 
the Egyptians in the following words : " Why have ye 
come hither unto this land, which the people of Egypt 
know not ? Do ye come down the ways of heaven, or 
did ye sail upon the sea and upon the waters of God's 
land ? Or have ye trodden the path of the sun ? " 
Assured that the Egyptians have come upon a peaceable 
errand, the people of Punt provide them with a feast of 
meat, fruit and wine, and then trading begins. The 
Egyptians offer beads, axes, daggers, bracelets, and wooden 
chests. In exchange the Puntites give them treasures 
of every sort, which are piled on the ships. They include 
thirty-one incense trees placed in baskets, with their roots 
done up in balls of earth ; ebony, ivory, and " goodly 


fragrant woods," eye cosmetics, dog-headed apes, grey- 
hounds, gold, silver, and lapis-lazuli, green malachite, panther 
skins, ostrich eggs and feathers, and even a live giraffe. 

Then with friendly farewells the boats put off to sea 
again, and after many weeks come once more in sight of 
Thebes. The people crowd the banks in hundreds, eager 
for news of the expedition and a sight of the marvellous 
treasures. These are unloaded and brought before the 
Queen, who inspects them with pride and delight. The 
spices and gold are weighed out in great scales, and 
Hatshepsut makes as an offering to the gods the thirty- 
one living myrrh trees, some eye cosmetic, some throw- 
sticks of the Puntites, ebony, electrum for inlay, and a 
live southern panther! She also adds 3300 small cattle 
to her present, and all these things are taken to the 
priests in the temples. 

Some days later the Queen goes in her chariot to her 
own temple of Der-el-Bahari, under the cliffs, and there 
sees her myrrh trees planted in rows, all green and sweetly 
smelling. She calls artists and orders them to carve 
pictures of the expedition on the walls inside, and by them 
to inscribe its history — and there they remain to this day, 
having been safely buried under the sand for thousands 
of years until they were recently excavated. 

2. Amenhotep III. and Queen Tiy — Years pass. 
Kings and queens have their day and then are buried 
among the western hills. We now come to the time 
when two children reign in Egypt. The King is called 
Amenhotep III., and he is about twelve years old. His 
wife, Queen Tiy, is a little dark-eyed girl of ten, with 
merry ways and a keen, intelligent face. They live in a big 
palace in Thebes, across the river Nile, and not far from the 
hills. Its walls are painted with gaily-coloured frescoes ; 
on the ceilings flights of birds are represented against a 


blue summer sky, and the floors under their feet are inlaid 
with the gayest of colours and patterns. The little King 
and his wife sit on gilded thrones, and ambassadors and 
envoys from Babylonia and Crete and other far-away 
countries prostrate themselves before them, kissing the 
ground at their feet, and murmuring to the King, " Thou 
resemblest Ra," which is the greatest compliment they 
can pay him, as Ra is the chief Egyptian god. Behind 
the throne stand the little Oueen's father and mother, 
Yuaa and Tuaa. Yuaa is a very important person. He 
is one of the chief priests, and the Master of the Horse, 
and Chariot Captain to the King. It is one of his duties 
to see that the King's stables are full of the most beautiful 
horses that Asia can yield. He governs the country for 
the little King, and is helped by the King's vizier or prime 
minister, who is also the chief architect, who has the same 
name as the King — Amenhotep.^ 

The little King and Queen get very tired of sitting 
still on their thrones and behaving sedately, and the}- are 
much happier when they are allowed to run out into the 
gardens that surround the palace. Here grow beautiful 
trees, many of them fruit trees bearing pomegranates, figs, 
and dates, which the children gather ; and here also are 
beautiful flowers, and strange and curious animals with 
which they love to play. Often Yuaa and Tuaa sit in 
the garden with them, and tell them stories of the kings 
and queens who have gone before them, who are buried 
in the huge pyramids by the river Nile. Then the dusk 
falls and the King and Queen get drowsy and are taken 
off to bed. 

When the King and Queen grow older, Amenhotep 
orders his slaves to dig out a great lake, and fill it with 

^ Worshipped as a god in Ptolemaic times under the name of " Amenhotep, 
son of Hapi." 


water from the Nile, and he also gives Queen Tiy a beauti- 
ful gilded boat. In the evenings when the feasting and the 
dancing are over the Queen loves to escape with a few of 
her courtiers and sail on the still waters of the lake, while 
the stars come out overhead and the air is filled with the 
fragrance of the spice trees growing on the banks. So 
the short summer nights and the long scorching days 
pass, and Yuaa and Tuaa grow old and die. They have 
collected some beautiful furniture for their tomb, and have 
left orders that food shall be placed there too, because, like 
all other Egyptians, they think that after their death their 
doubles will still wander on earth, and so must have 
necessities provided for them. So Queen Tiy sadly 
watches her parents' possessions packed up and taken off 
to the tomb that has been hollowed out on the hill-side. 
Among other things there are beds, chairs, Yuaa's chariot, 
legs of mutton, honey, and a beautifully carved toilet box 
with the names of the King and Queen painted on it in 
blue and gold, for it is their present. 

Amenhotep determines to erect some splendid new 
buildings by which all shall remember the magnificence of 
his reign. He calls Amenhotep, his architect, who sets 
to work at once and draws plans of a great hall and court 
to be added to the temple of Luxor by the Nile. A great 
new temple is also designed with two gigantic statues of 
the King to stand at its entrance.^ Thousands of slaves 
are set to work on the buildings, and every day the King 
and Queen watch the progress of the work with interest 
and pride. The architect orders huge blocks of stone to 
be cut out of the mountain side, out of which he fashions 
a colossal statue of the King. The stone is floated down 
the river from the quarries on a great ship, and when the 
day comes when the statue is set up in the temple, all 
^ The so-called " Colossi of Memnon " are all that remain of this temple. 


Thebes crowds to see the wonderful sight. For another 
temple the King orders some lions to be carved out of 
red granite, for he is a great hunter, and has spent many 
days in hunting in the desert and the hills.'- 

The King and Queen live for many years, and when 
Amenhotep dies, his little son reigns in his stead. 

The story has a sequel. Early in the year 1905 some 
diggers were excavating in the Valley of the Kings near 
Thebes. Under a mound of rubbish they discovered the 
entrance to a tomb, and exposed to view a flight of steps, 
leading to a passage half blocked with stones. As it was 
too late in the evening to explore further, guards were 
posted on the hill-side, and three people lay down outside 
the tomb entrance to keep watch under the stars, lest any 
thief should force his way in. Early next morning the 
small party of excavators made their way, one by one, 
down the passage. They passed a bundle of onions 
thousands of years old, and at the end of the passage 
came upon a wall plastered with mud, and sealed with a 
priestly seal. The top of the wall was broken away, and 
beyond it could be seen glimmering faintly in the dim, un- 
certain light, the shimmering glint of gold and silver and 
the ghostly forms of chairs and chests. 

A way in was made, and the explorers found themselves 
standing in a little room, full of furniture of the most 
beautiful design and colouring. There was no speck of 
dust ; the place might have been vacated only a few days 
before instead of more than three thousand years ago. 
Two mummies lay in their wrappings, and painted and 
gilded cases stood by. Round about were the things that 
had been placed for their use in the after life ; chairs, 
exquisitely carved and gilded ; alabaster jars ; three beds, 
carved and gilded, with rush bottoms ; a cushion of down 
*■ " Lions from Gebel Barkel." Now in the British Museum. 


and fine linen ; a chariot that gleamed with crimson, green, 
and gold ; a jar where honey was still liquid ; joints of 
meat, each placed in a wooden box ; two pairs of sandals, 
one old and one new, and a beautifully carved and painted 
toilet box, inlaid with ivory, on which were carved the 
names of Amenhotep III. and Queen Tiy. One of the 
explorers knelt down by the mummy cases, and by the 
flickering light of the candle spelt out the names of those 
for whom the tomb had been prepared. They were 
" Yuaa and Tuaa." 

3. Ramses II., the Pharaoh of the Oppression — 
Again time passes. Again another Pharaoh is ruling in 
Egypt. We see him driving through Thebes in his golden 
chariot. Runners before him clear the way. As he passes 
through the crowded streets all bow low to the ground — 
rulers and princes, merchants, freemen, and slaves. On 
every side rise great buildings — palaces, avenues of 
sphinxes, and temples, where white-robed priests pass in 
and out. Ramses II., for that is the King's name, stops 
at the temple of Karnak. Slaves hold the horses of his 
chariot, and he passes the bowing priests and goes to visit 
the great hypostyle hall that is being added to the temple. 
It is nearly finished. Toiling slaves move to and fro, and 
if they stumble under the weight of the heavy stones the 
lash of the overseer falls across their shoulders, and with 
groans they struggle to their feet again and work on. 
The Pharaoh watches unmoved : it is nothing to him 
that the slaves should suffer. Thousands of them, 
Israelites, are labouring in his two store cities in the Delta, 
where they have to build walls of brick to protect the 
corn for his armies. Day after day they press the red 
Nile mud into moulds and make the bricks. It is nothing 
to the King that the Israelites are not provided with the 
necessary chopped straw, which binds the clay together. 


If they cannot do the work without it, they can always 
be beaten. But help is coming for the oppressed people. 
Who can finish the story, and tell what happens ? 


First Story — The first three paragraphs are imaginary. They are 
founded on information chiefly derived from" Professor Breasted's 
History of E^^ypt. Paragraph 4 is taken from Recueil de traveaux 
7-elniifs a la philologie et a Larcheologie Egypizenttes et Assyrt'enfies, 
vol. iv., pages 69-73, 1884. The tomb of Rahotep and Nefert was 
discovered in 1871. Critics agree that it probably dates from the 
reign of Sneferu, at the end of the third dynasty. It is not known 
whether Nefert was the wife or sister of Rahotep. The names given 
to the children are genuine Egyptian ones, but of a later date. The 
list of food to be provided in the tomb also dates from a rather later 

Second Story. Paragraph i — The story of thee xpedition to Punt 
can be read with every detail in the reliefs of the temple of Derel- 
Bahari. The Queen's sending for Senmut and her visit to see the 
myrrh trees are imaginary. 

Paragraph 2 — The first part is imaginary. The details are largely 
taken from T/ie Life and Times of Akhnaton, by Arthur Weigall. The 
description of the opening of the tomb of Yuaa and Tuaa, in the 
second part, is taken from an article in the Century Magazine 
of November 1905. As the toilet box is inscribed with the names of 
the King and Queen, it has been concluded to have been their gift. 
The ages of the little King and Queen and the order of events in the 
story are approximate only. 

Paragraph 3 — The story of the oppression of the Israelites has 
been introduced to connect the lesson with something that is 
familiar to the children. It should be left out if the lesson proves 
too long. 

Part II. — Material for Advanced Lessons only 

History — The earliest traces of the civilizations of the 
world are found in the eastern Mediterranean region, in 
the two great river valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates 



and the Nile. In Egypt the small kingdoms do not fall 
within the historic age, which is no doubt due to the fact 
that for thousands of years heavy deposits of Nile mud 
have accumulated in the Delta, the seat of the earliest 
Egyptian civilization, and irrevocably buried its material 
remains. Some idea of the state that this early civiliza- 
tion attained to can be gathered from the fact that these 
pre-dynastic Egyptians perfected a form of alphabetic 
letters two thousand five hundred years before any other 
people, and in the year 4241 B.C. invented the system of 
the calendar year of 365 days, which, being dependent on 
the sun, was a matter of great difficulty. So good was 
the system that it was introduced into Rome by Julius 
Caesar, and is still in use to-day, over six thousand years 
after its invention. 

The Egyptians were native African people, with a Semitic 
strain. The nature of the country made them agricul- 
turists, for, to quote Herodotus, " Egypt is the gift of the 
Nile," and the dry and parched deserts were intersected by 
the broad Nile valley, which was rendered extraordinarily 
fertile by the annual inundation of the great river. Here 
the people lived, cultivating their crops, hunting and fish- 
ing, while the Nile, which dominated their lives, worked 
unnoticed upon their minds, and determined to a great 
extent their thoughts and beliefs. Slowly the small states 
were absorbed, and the country became two kingdoms : 
one the valley to the Delta, and one the Delta itself 
Slowly these " Two Lands " were developed, until, in the 
year 3400 B.C., they became one country, when under 
Menes, first king of united Egypt, the first royal house, or 
dynasty, was established. Then followed four centuries of 
rapid development leading up to the first great period of 
Egyptian history known as the " Old Kingdom," or 
Pyramid Age. This was an age of great mental enter- 



prise. Art and mechanics reached a level which was 
never again surpassed, and trade developed until the great 
Egyptian ships, some 1 70 feet long, touched the shores of 
Phoenicia and penetrated to the coasts of Somaliland. 

After the Old Kingdom, an age of decline followed, and 
a period of foreign invasion, which was succeeded by the 
next great period of the country's history, known as the 
" Middle Kingdom." This was the feudal age, and the 
classic period of Egyptian history and art. Trade was 
still further developed, particularly in relation to the early 
.^gean centres, and the foundations of the empire were 
laid. Then a second period of disorganization and re- 
action set in. The supremacy of Memphis waned, and its 
place was gradually taken by the town of Thebes, which 
was destined to be the centre of Egyptian supremacy until 
the fall of the empire. 

The •' New Kingdom " or " Empire," the third and last 
great period of Egypt's history, was in many wa}'S the 
most famous and splendid time that the country had 
known. The great Pharaohs were emperors, rulers of vast 
dominions, and controllers of what was now, under the kines 
of the xviiith and xixth dynasties, a military state. Thebes 
had become the most important city in the world, the centre 
to which ambassadors and traders from far and near con- 
verged. Victorious generals brought thousands of foreign 
captives from the wars, and they were set to work as slaves 
upon the beautifying of the city. Much of the loot of war 
was also expended in this way, and Thebes became famous 
from one end of the civilized world to the other. The 
town had spread to such an extent that it not only 
included the residential quarter of Luxor, but also Karnak, 
the official seat of Egyptian religion, and the group of 
ecclesiastical buildings that had grown up near the tombs 
and temples on the edge of the western desert. Here in 



the hills beyond the waters of the Nile the royal dead were 

Towards the end of the xxth dynasty the age of 
decadence set in, and the last page of Egyptian history 
tells the story of a succession of foreign conquests, when 
one nation after another ruled the land. There was one 
period, however, known as the Restoration, when the 
country regained for a short interval some of its power. 
This was the Saitic period, when during the years 663- 
525 B.C. Sais, a town in the Delta, became the centre of a 
flourishing civilization. 

Religion — The dominating factor of ancient Egyptian 
religion was the belief in a life after death. However 
debased the theology of the people became, the belief in 
immortality was never abandoned, even when most 
obscured by the doctrines of magic and superstition. 
" Thou hast departed that thou mightest live " are the 
words of an ancient Egyptian epitaph, and the death of 
King Pepi is described as " the day when King Pepi was 
summoned to life." A high ethical standard required that 
conduct on earth should determine future happiness, and 
this is another proof of the advanced state of Ancient 
Egyptian civilization. The people believed that the sun, 
having completed its daily course through the heavens in 
a celestial barque, and disappeared in the west, then 
passed beneath the earth, through a succession of dark and 
gloomy caverns, until it again reached the light of da}', 
ready to run its course afresh. In this dark and mj^steri- 
ous nether world dwelt the dead and the gods of the 
dead. Here, according to the more advanced theories of 
the Egyptians, Osiris, judge of the dead, weighed the 
souls of the departed, helped by forty-two assistant judges, 
represented by hideous demons. If the life was held to 
have been unworthy, the shade was condemned to hunger 


and thirst and the darkness of the tomb ; if worthy, it might 
linger near its tomb, or ascend to heaven, to be rowed 
through the waters that surrounded it to the celestial fields 
of Yaru, the lentil fields, where it lived in peace and 

Egyptian religion was composed of a mass of varying 
beliefs, many of which were entirely contradictory. The 
people deified all natural phenomena, which they recognized 
as regular and persistent. Sun, moon, sky and water 
were represented under various names as gods and god- 
desses, and the river and desert, and many birds and 
beasts, became s\'mbols of a host of deities. The great 
number of Egyptian gods were attached to local centres, 
and as these rose and fell in power the popularity and 
greatness of the deities rose and fell with them. Some of 
the gods were held to be friendly to man, others antagon- 
istic. Chief of all was Re or Ra, who, according to one of 
the earliest Egyptian myths, issued from an egg or flower 
floating on the vast sea which represented the world. 
From him were descended the eight most famous deities, 
who, together with him, constituted the " ennead," of 
which later each temple possessed a local form. It is 
impossible here to do more than mention one or two of 
the chief Egyptian gods. Their number was legion, and 
the study of them is complicated b\- the fact that many 
of them appeared under a number of different names and 
forms. The following are some of the chief among 
them : — 

Re or Ra, the sun god. Often represented as a hawk, 
or as a sun's disk with a hawk's outstretched wings. The 
supreme god of Egypt. The chief centre of his worship 
was at Heliopolis. 

Seb or Keb, the great god of the earth ; present when 
the heart was weighed before Osiris in the judgment 


hall. Represented as a man with a crown and solar disk, 
upon which is engraved his symbol, the goose. 

Nut, the goddess of the sky, the type of woman's love 
and joy. Worshipped at Denderah as the cow goddess, 
Hathor ; at Bubastes as Bast, the cat goddess, and at 
Memphis as a lioness, and the goddess of storm and 

Osiris, king of the dead and judge of the nether- 
world : the symbol of immortality. The god of the Nile. 
Centre of worship, Abydos. 

Isis, the great goddess of womanhood, often represented 
as a queen with a head-dress surmounted by horns and a 
solar disk. The cow was sacred to her. Her chief shrine 
was in the Delta. 

Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, One of the greatest 
gods of the dynastic Egypt. At one time worshipped as 
two gods, one the hawk god of upper Egypt and identified 
with Ra, and the other Horus the child, sometimes re- 
presented as sitting on a lotus leaf 

Thoth, the god of letters, magic and divine intelligence. 
Represented with the head of an ibis and associated with 
a dog- headed ape who was supposed to bring him the 
results of the judgment of the dead. 

Sekhemhet or Sekhet, the goddess of the destructive 
heat of the fire and the sun. The minister of Ra for the 
punishment of the wicked. Represented with the head of 
a lion surmounted by a solar disk. 

Anubis, the jackal god of the nether-world, the god 
of embalmment. 

Ptah, the chief god of Memphis, the patron of all 
artificers and artists, whose high priest was always the 
chief artist at court. 

Amen or Ammon, the chief god of Thebes, who at 
the time of the city's greatness was identified with Ra, 


and was known as Amen-Ra. He was generally re- 
presented in human form with two tall upright plumes 
rising above his head, and holding a sceptre as a symbol 
of life. The goose was sacred to him, and the Thebans 
believed him to be incarnate in a ram. 

Sebek, the crocodile god. Worshipped in the Fayum. 
Represented as a crocodile or as a man with a crocodile's 

Khnemu or Khunm, the personification of the creative 
force. The god of the first cataract. Represented with 
a ram's head. 

The kings or Pharaohs of Egypt were also worshipped 
as gods and were considered " Sons of Ra," the successors 
of the sun god. The Horus hawk was one of their most 
frequent symbols, and also the serpent, which represented 
the early kingdom of Upper Egypt. During the later 
phases of Ancient Egyptian civilization, religion became 
much debased. Belief in magic was universal, and formulae 
were collected and buried in the tombs with a view to 
guiding the deceased in the life hereafter. The Book 
of the Dead, which is a collection of these formulae, is 
the most famous example of this kind of literature. 
Charms were also placed in the tombs, such as certain of 
the models of scarabs, or sacred beetles. The greater 
number of them served as seals, but in other instances 
they were associated with Ra, and were believed to silence 
the accusing voice of the heart when questioned by the 
judge. Animal worship was also a persistent feature of 
Egyptian religion. 

Standing out in sharp contrast to the recognized beliefs 
of the time, came the religious revolution of Ikhnaton, 
which were largely due to the influence of his parents, 
and in particular to that of his mother, Queen Tiy. 
Ikhnaton was a king of lofty and intellectual aims. Caring 


little for matters of state, he devoted himself to philo- 
sophic and ethical problems, and in the worship of Aton, 
whom he identified with the sun god, introduced a fine 
and idealistic system of monotheism. After his death, 
however, the old beliefs reasserted themselves, and were 
jealously guarded by the priests at Thebes, where Amen- 
Ra again ruled supreme. 

The Egyptian belief in a life after death created an 
elaborate tomb ritual. The people imagined that every 
person possessed a soul, which could take the form of a 
bird, lotus flower, serpent, or even crocodile Besides this, 
each mortal was believed to be accompanied by a Ka or 
double, which accompanied him through life, and not 
only followed him after death, but- frequented the place of 
his burial. The Egyptian could not conceive of a future 
life without the body, and for this reason each man that 
was able prepared a tomb for himself, furnished with all 
that was necessary for the maintenance of the Ka. The 
Egyptian of the early dynasties prepared a mastaba or 
solid brick tomb for himself and his family, in which was 
concealed the serdab or cellar, a secret chamber containing 
their likenesses, carved or painted in wood or stone. To 
these counterfeits the Kas could then attach themselves, 
and so that they should not suffer hunger or thirst, food 
and drink was provided for their use, either in the form 
of wall paintings, or as usually was the case, the real 
material itself. This was placed in a small chapel in the 
tomb, to which the priest and family had access. It 
contained a false door, built at first in the east wall, and 
later on in the west for the use of the Ka, and its walls were 
covered with paintings and sculptures representing scenes 
from the life of the owner, and pictures of his slaves and 
other possessions, for the Kds use. Lastly, in a sub- 
terranean chamber under the tomb, and approached by a 


shaft, the mummy or mummies were deposited. During 
the vith-xiith dynasties the paintings on the walls of 
the tomb representing the servants and belongings of 
the owner were to a great extent superseded by small 
models, provided to supply the needs of the Ka. In the 
tombs of this period numberless groups of this kind have 
been found, such as regiments of soldiers, servants occupied 
with the grinding of corn, boats manned by sailors, etc., 
etc. In the xviith dynasty we find these models replaced 
by small figures known as " respondents " provided for 
the same purpose. 

The following extract, which forms part of a hymn 
in honour of the god Aton, was written by King 
Ikhnaton (Amenhotep IV.), who reigned during the 
years 141 i- 1377 B.C. It shows the height of spiritual 
beauty to which the king's conception of religion had 
attained : — 

"Thy dawning is beautiful in the horizon of heaven, 
O living Aton, Beginning of life ! 
When thou risest in the eastern horizon of heaven 
Thou fillest every land with thy beauty . . . 

All cattle rest upon their herbage, all trees and plants flourish. 
The birds flutter in their marshes, their wings uplifted in adoration 

to thee. 
All the sheep dance upon their feet, 
All winged things fly ; they live when thou bast shone upon them. 

The barques sail up-stream and down-stream alike . . . 
•The fish in the river leap up before thee. 
And thy rays are in the midst of the great sea . . . 

When the chick crieth in the egg-shell. 
Thou givest him breath therein to preserve him alive . . . 
He Cometh forth from the ^g-g to chirp with all his might, 
He runneth about upon his two feet. 


How manifold are thy works ! 
They are hidden from before us, 
O thou sole god, whose power no other possesseth." 

(Professor Breasted's translations.) ^ 

Art. General Characteristics — Egyptian art is the 
greatest of the earliest arts. We owe our knowledge of 
it to the dry climate of the country which has kept the 
monuments in such an excellent state of preservation, and 
also to the Egyptian belief in the life after death, which 
caused the tombs to be veritable museums of art. It is 
an art full of monumental dignity and calm. The effect 
of the pyramids is unforgettable, while the temples 
are of immense strength, and impressive in design. 

The same characteristics are present in the sculpture, 
which was governed by the strictest of artistic conven- 
tions. An interesting allusion to this is found in the 
great Abydos stela or memorial tablet of King Neferthotep 
(Middle Kingdom). It tells how the King searched for 
the old ideals in art. "(Let) me know the god in his 
form that I may fashion him as he was formerly, when 
they made their statues in their council, in order to establish 
/ their monuments upon earth." Professor Breasted writes, 
that from these lines, " it is evident that the gods were 
supposed to have held a council in the beginning at which 
they determined for all time exactly the form and appear- 
ance of each." ^ 

One of the most persistent conventions of Egyptian 
art was the refusal to represent the human figure, either in 
relief or painting, from one point of view. While the 
head or lower limbs would be shown in profile, the torso 
and eye were painted and carved as squarely facing the 
spectator. In the whole course of Egyptian art it is rare 
to find figures treated other than in this way, and it is no 

^ A History of Egypt. Breasted. Scribner. * Ibid. 


doubt owing to this, and to the pecuh'ar and unchanging 
emotional quality of Egyptian art, that the charge of 
monotony is so frequently brought against it. It must 
be remembered, however, that this criticism is levelled 
against three thousand years of the artistic production of 
one people, and that although their art contains these 
persistent features and self-imposed limitations, yet it 
triumphs over them again and again, and for ever rising 
above the level of everyday artistic production, when a 
lack of inspiration and vitality is often apparent, we have 
a series of masterpieces which are unequalled in the 
annals of early art. It must also be remembered that 
artistic convention is a first necessity of decorative art, 
and that the great sculptured figures of the kings, 
which formed part of the architectural equipment of 
the temples, gained in decorative value by their lack 
of realistic treatment. When these statues are torn from 
their proper setting and placed in rows in museums they 
lose much of their true effect. The finest of the Egyptian 
sculptures, however, were produced when the artist was in 
closest touch with nature, when the blending of artistic 
convention, and the close observation of natural forms and 
character, produced such splendid work as the best 
portrait statues of each great epoch. 

Egyptian art was to a great extent utilitarian in 
character. Each tomb, statue, or carving had a purpose to 
serve. Masterpieces of statuary were walled up in tombs 
for the use of the Ka and were lost to the sight of man. 
Paintings and reliefs, in the same way, were only visible 
to the priest or member of the deceased's family, who had 
the right to enter the chapel of the mastaba. A pyramid 
was built to symbolize the power of a king. The 
Egyptians did not regard the creation of ideal beauty as 
the end and aim of their art. They loved the beauty 


of nature. We find cups in the shape of lotus buds, 
and blossom and leaf forming the handle of a spoon ; 
but these motives were secondary to the utility of the 

Owing to the climate and the customs of the people, 
the Egyptian artist was accustomed to the nude, and in 
all his work the human figure is treated frankly and 
directly ; but it will be noticed, as Professor Lange has 
pointed out, that all early statues in the round, until the 
year 500 B.C., were treated in the following manner, 
which he calls " the system of frontality." He shows that 
a figure was always sculptured in such a way that an 
imaginary line, drawn from the top of the head, straight 
down through the backbone and continued in a similar 
direction to the ground, would never curve to either the 
right or the left. The figure could be made to bend 
backwards or forwards, because this would not affect the 
line ; a leg might be advanced or might be bent in a 
kneeling attitude, but the body or head would never be 
made to alter in position from the established line of 
direction. A little latitude was allowed to the position 
of the arms alone, but only in so far as it did not affect 
the line of the rest of the figure. 

Egyptian temples, and the great tombs, were built of 
granite, limestone, and sandstone, which were found in 
large quantities on the mountains and hills that bordered 
the desert. For the erection of palaces and houses, mud 
bricks were employed, with the result that these buildings 
have generally perished. Buildings were coloured in the 
most brilliant hues. Pillars, reliefs, and sculptures blazed 
with red, blue and gold, and the reason for this is 
explained by the science of optics, which show that the 
more intense the light, the more pleasure the eye takes in 
colour. It is well known that the nearer we get to the 


equator, the more brilliantly coloured are the birds and 
flowers, and this is also true of the works of man. Long 
ago the Egyptian found out that all details of his 
architecture became faint and almost undiscernible in the 
intense clarity and brilliance of the Southern light, and 
that deep shadows were nearly non-existent. He there- 
fore called colour to his aid, and with its help gave the 
required variety to the surfaces of his buildings. This use 
of colour was also employed by other Southern peoples, 
such as the Babylonians, Assyrians, and Greeks. Another 
characteristic of Egyptian architecture is its decoration, 
which was used to reflect the life of the people by means 
of endless scenes, carved and painted upon its walls, and 
coloured in the manner described above. 

The lesser arts of Egypt developed steadily from 
earliest times until they reached their most beautiful 
form at the time of the Empire. Crystal vases, gold and 
silver vessels, exquisitely chased, glazed and painted tiles, 
gilded and carved chariots, the finest of linens, bowls 
ground to translucent thinness, and furniture of the most 
elegant design were produced in large quantities, and 
have been preserved to us in the tombs. The temples 
were inlaid with silver and electrum, and the royal jewels 
were worth a king's ransom. 


(Chronological outline taken from Breasted 's History 
of Egypt) 

First Period. — Pre-dynastic to Old Kingdom 

Pre-dynastic kingdoms already flourishing 4500 B.C. 
Introduction of calendar and earliest fixed date in 
History, 4241 B.C. 



Kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt probably 

flourishing by 4000 B.C. 
Accession of Menes, first king of united Egypt, and 

beginning of dynasties, 3400 B.C. 
First and second dynasties, eighteen kings ruling at 

Thinis, 3400-2980 B.C. 

The pre-dynastic Egyptians made mud pottery by 
hand, some of which was decorated by rudely drawn 
patterns and figures. These vessels were superseded by 
others of stone, and woven cloth and reed mats were also 
made. During the early dynasties, buildings were made 
of brick and intervv^oven palm sticks. The temples of the 
time of King Menes were little more than wooden shrines 
with walls of plaited wattle. That stone buildings were 
erected by the second half of the second dynasty is 
testified to by a fragment of the mortuary text of King 
Pepi I. of the sixth dynasty (2625-2475 B.C.), where it 
was claimed that in remodelling the temple at Denderah, 
he was reproducing the plan of the ancient sanctuary of 
pre-dynastic kings of that spot. Sculptors were mean- 
while acquiring considerable skill, and some of the tombs 
that have been excavated have been found to contain 
delicately carved slate palettes for face paint, decorated 
with reliefs of men and animals, which are freshly and 
vigorously treated, and are also interesting as showing 
how at this early date artistic conventions were growing 
up. On the other hand, some small figures and other works 
of art found at Hieraconpolis are singularly free from 
convention, and show direct observation of nature. Perhaps 
the most famous work of art of this period is the slate 
palette of King Narmer, dating from the first dynasty 
and also found at Hieraconpolis. 


Second Period. — Old Kingdom, 2980-2475 b.c. 
Dynasties Three to Six 

Capital : Memphis. 

Third dynasty, 2980-2900B.C. Zoser to Sneferu, 80 
years. Pyramids at Sakkara and Meydum. 

Fourth dynasty, 2900-2750 B.C. Prosperity of Old 
Kingdom at its height. 

Chief rulers : 

Khufu (Cheops), builder of great pyramid of Gizeh, 

2900-2877 B.C. 
Khafre (Chephren), builder of second pyramid of 

Gizeh, 2869-2774 B.C. 

Sixth dynasty. Chief ruler : Pepi 1., 2590-2570 B.C. 

Egyptian art was never greater than during the Old 
Kingdom or Pyramid Age. For many hundreds of years 
the civilization of the country had been steadily developing, 
and in this way the foundations had been laid for the 
splendid activities of the fourth dynasty. The step 
pyramid of Sakkara (the oldest existing stone building) was 
erected by King Zoser of the third dynasty, and was 
followed shortly afterwards by the vast and impressive 
tombs of Sneferu at Mediim, and Khufu and Khafre at 
Gizeh. These pyramids are immortal testimonies to the 
reverence in which the Egyptians held their king. He 
was believed to be a god, " the Son of Ra," and no labour 
or money was spared to provide him with a lasting 
memorial, which by its vast proportions and strength 
should testify to his greatness and power. The pyramid 
of King Khufu (Cheops) is the only one of the so-called 
" seven wonders of the world " which has come down 


to us. The very mass of this gigantic monument 
tells of the organization and labour involved in its 
erection and the highly developed state to which 
mechanics had attained at this time. The pyramid is 
built of some 2,300,000 blocks of stone, of an average 
weight of two and a half tons each, and its construction 
took the labour of a hundred thousand men during 
a period of twenty years. Every stone tells of the 
triumph of human will over material, and so perfect and 
exact is the construction, that it is the wonder of modern 
architects. The king was buried in a tiny chapel hidden 
in the heart of the pyramid, and numerous tombs of the 
nobles were built in its vicinity. These lesser tombs are 
known as viastabas (from the Arabic word for a bench), 
and although they are of no architectural importance, they 
are interesting because some of them contain arches of un- 
burnt brick, and except in certain early Babylonian tombs 
this architectural form was not again employed until the 
time of the Romans. The most famous temple of the age 
that has been preserved is that of Khafre at Gizeh. It is 
a plain and massive building with square pillars and no 
trace of decoration, and, like the pyramids, it gives an im- 
pression of strength and noble severity. 

The sculpture of the Old Kingdom is a splendid achieve- 
ment. The ancient Egyptians were the first people 
to put the human body into sculptured form in the 
round, and nearly three thousand years before the 
time of Christ they were producing masterpieces of 
sculpture which in some respects have never been surpassed. 
The finest of these statues are those which were placed 
in the tomb in fulfilment of religious beliefs. The general 
form of these figures is only broadly and somewhat 
conventionally treated, but the heads are magnificent. It 
was necessary that they should be exact likenesses of the 


i 2 

i- Q 

< M 

H - 

•y. w 


o a 


subjects, and the sculptors responded by producing heads 
that were brimful of character and vivid with life. To 
make the statues still more lifelike they were coloured in 
natural hues, and the eyes were inlaid with rock crystal in 
copper sockets, but the treatment was never so realistic 
that the aesthetic qualities of the work were spoilt. Among 
the most famous of these statues is the figure known as 
the Sheykh-el Beled and those of Rahotep and Nefert, 
and the " Seated Scribe " of the Louvre. They appear 
before us as living people, full of individuality and vital 
force. Another famous statue of this period is the black 
diorite seated figure of King Khafre, now in the Cairo 
Museum, It is impressed with the dignity and majesty 
that would be worn by " the Son of Ra," and the sculptor 
shows in it the complete mastery which he had gained 
over the hard and difficult material used. 

The reliefs of the Old Kingdom are exquisitely 
modelled, and are full of life and freshness. They do not 
show the realism of the portrait statues, because this was 
not required by religious motives, but they are more real- 
istic than similar work produced at any later period of 
Egyptian art. The sculptors of this age even attempted 
life-sized figures in copper, such as the splendid statue of 
Pepi I., which is made of metal moulded over a wooden 
core. In spite of its bad state of preservation the head is 
excellent, and also the whole pose of the figure. 

The paintings of the Pyramid Age were stamped with 
many of the same aesthetic qualities found in other works 
of art of the same period. Among the most famous of the 
tomb paintings is that of geese, found in a mastaba at 
Medum. It shows all the directness and observation of 
Old Kingdom work at its best. Generally speaking, the 
remarks previously made as to the reliefs apply equally 
well to the paintings, for the greater number of the former 




were cut in such low relief, and were so gaily coloured, 
that they \yere little more than slightly raised and modelled 

Third Period. — Middle Kingdom, 2 160-1788 b.c. 
Dynasties Eleven and Twelve 

Residence at Dahshur, Lisht, and in Fayum. 
Twelfth dynasty, 2000- 1788 B.C. Highest prosperity 
of Middle Kingdom. 

Chief rulers : 

Amenemhet I., 2000-1970 B.C. 
Sesostris I. (Senusert I.), 1980-1935 B.C. 
Amenemhet II., 1938-1903 B.C. 
Sesostris II. (Senusert II.), 1906-1887 B.C. 
Sesostris III. (Senusert III.), i 887-1 849 B.C. 
Amenemhet III., 1849-1801 B.C. 

The Old Kingdom fell through internal struggles, and 
a period of disorganization set in. When the Middle 
Kingdom was established art, which had been in abeyance, 
once more emerged triumphant, and although some of the 
strength and the vividness of Old Kingdom art had been 
lost. Middle Kingdom art had many splendid qualities of 
its own, and the period has been styled the classic time of 
Egyptian art. The buildings of the period are so frag- 
mentary that we can form little idea of the architecture. The 
great kings of the twelfth dynasty built many temples, but 
they have for the most part perished, while the buildings 
at Thebes were pulled down, enlarged, or altered out of all 
recognition by later kings of the Empire. Cliff tombs 
became more frequent, and, although no more portrait 
statues were made for the tombs, many excellent and life- 


like statues were produced, showing that the Old Kingdom 
traditions had not died out, and that the sculptors still had 
power to triumph over the bondage of aesthetic conven- 
tions. At the same time statues began to be carved in 
colossal form, some forty to fifty feet in height, and the 
spirit of imperturbable calm began to make itself felt in 
art. The Sphinx of Gizeh may possibly have been made 
at this time, although certain critics assign it to the fourth 

The reliefs and paintings of the period share many of 
the characteristics of the sculpture. Some of the best 
paintings that the ancient Egyptians produced, found in a 
tomb at Beni Hassan, date from this time. They repre- 
sent figures of birds and animals, and are as full of life 
and vigour as Minoan paintings of similar subjects 
executed some three hundred years later. 

An interesting insight into the mind of a Middle King- 
dom artist is found in the inscription of a funerary tablet 
of a sculptor named Mertisen, where he states, " I was an 
artist skilled in my art. I knew my art, how to represent 
the forms of going forth and returning, so that each limb 
may be in its proper place. I knew how the figure of a 
man should walk, and the carriage of a woman, the pois- 
ing of an arm to bring the hippopotamus low, the going 
of the runner." ^ 

The downfall of the Middle Kingdom was brought 
about by foreign invasions, when the Hyksos, the " shep- 
herds, princes of the desert," who introduced the horse into 
Egypt, and who were probably Syrians and Canaanites, 
ruled the land. It is thought that Joseph lived during 
the reign of one of the last of these foreign kings, 
while Abraham and Sara probably lived about the year 
1850 B.C. 

"^ The Ancient History of the Near East. H.R.Hall. Methuen. 


Fourth Period. — New Kingdom or Empire 

(A) The Early Empire, 1580-1350^.(7. 
Dynasty Eighteen 

Capital : Thebes. 

Chief rulers : 

Ahmose I. . . . 1 580-1 557 B.C. 

Thutmose III. (including the 

rule of Thutmos II. and 

Hatshepsut) . . 1 501-1447 „ 

Amenhotep III. (Amenophis 

III.) and Queen Tiy . 141 1- 1375 „ 

Ikhnaton (Amenhotep IV.) , 1375-1358 „ 

{B) The Late Empire, c. 13 50- 11 50 B.C. 
Dynasties Nineteen and Tzuenty 

Capital : Thebes and City of Ramses. 

Chief rulers : 

Approximate Dates. 

Harmhab . . . 1350-13 15 B.C. 

Ramses I. . . . 1315-1314 „ 

Seti I. . . . 1 31 3-1292 „ 

Ramses II. (The Pharaoh of 

the Oppression) . . 1 292-1 225 „ 

Ahmose I., the first king of the eighteenth dynasty, ex- 
pelled the hated Hyksos invaders from the land and 
organized Egypt into a military state. Under Thutmose 
III. Egypt became the first great Empire in history, and 
vast wealth was accumulated as the result of successful 
campaigns abroad and the development of trade. The 


Empire reached its greatest glory under Amenhotep III., 
and a period of splendour and luxury began which lasted 
until the time of Ramses II,, after which time a gradual 
decadence set in. By the year 11 50 B.C. the great days 
of Egyptian civilization were over. 

During the Empire art flourished as never before. 
The most famous temples of the age are those at Luxor 
and Karnak. The former was built by Amenhotep III. 
on an older foundation, and the long avenue of sphinxes, 
which connected it with the temple at Karnak, was also 
added by the same king. The latter temple was enlarged 
by Thutmose III., who gave it to a great extent its 
present form, but the famous Hypostyle Hall was not 
added until the reigns of Ramses I. and Seti II., and its 
decoration was only completed by Ramses II. A striking 
feature of these temples is their colonnades, an architec- 
tural motive entirely Egyptian in origin. The columns 
are often designed in the old Egyptian form of palm trees, 
with the crown of foliage forming the capital, or else as 
bundles of papyrus stalks, with the cluster of buds bearing 
the weight of the architrave. The temple usually took the 
form of a colonnaded hall, behind which was a series of 
small chambers containing furniture and implements for 
services. In the centre of these chambers stood the 
shrine of the god, the holy of holies, into which the king 
and high priest alone could penetrate. In front of these 
temple buildings was a forecourt, open to the sky, with a 
pylon or gateway facing the front of the hall. There was 
also a smaller type of temple, composed of a simple 
rectangular cella, some thirty or forty feet long, and four- 
teen high. It contained a door at either end, and was 
surrounded by a portico. The whole was raised on a 
base, which was about a half of the height of the temple 
walls. There is no doubt that this form of building, 


which was of beautiful proportions, exercised an influence 
on Greek architecture. 

An immense number of statues were produced during 
the Empire, but in general quality they are inferior to those 
of the Old and Middle Kingdoms. The greatness of the 
kings was represented by a colossal statue of immense 
dignity, in which realism gave way before symbolism and 
sheer bulk of material. Little if any attempt was made 
to record the individual features or character of the kings, 
which were considered entirely secondary to their majesty. 
An interesting inscription on the statue of Amenhotep, 
son of Hapi, the chief architect of Amenhotep III., tells 
of how he executed two colossal statues of the King. 
One of these may be the statue still existing in the temple 
of Karnak. The inscription is all the more interesting 
because it shows how this famous artist endeavoured to 
break away from artistic convention and to fight against 
the influence of his time. The following are some 
extracts from it : — 

" The king's scribe, Amenhotep, triumphant ; . . . I 
did according to that which he (the king) said, I 
followed according to the things which he commanded 
me, I found them excellent things for the future. . . . 
My lord made me chief of all his works. I established 
the name of the king for ever, I did not imitate that 
which had been done before ... I did according to 
my desire, executing his likeness in this, his great house 
(Karnak) with every precious stone, enduring like the 
heavens ; there was not one who had done it (the like) 
since the time of the founding of the two lands. I con- 
ducted the works of his statue, immense in width, taller 
than his column. ... I built an eight-vessel. I 
brought it (the statue) up-river. It was set up in this 


great house, enduring as heaven. My witnesses are }'e, ye 
who shall come after." ^ 

The most famous of the colossi representing Amen- 
hotep III. are the so-called "Colossi of Memnon," which 
were erected on either side of the mortuary temple of the 
King. Although the temple itself has perished, the colossi 
still stand, immense and solitary, on the plain. The 
figure of Queen Tiy is seen by the foot of one of the 
statues. It is possible that these colossi are also the work 
of the same famous sculptor. 

The reliefs of the new kingdom are executed with 
delicacy and precision. Although the conventional 
formulae are strong in them, a spirit of emotion and 
gaiety has crept in also, which reflects the life of the times, 
and the foreign influences brought to bear on the art of 
the Empire through the growth of trade, and the presence 
of foreign craftsmen in the court. The tombs became 
personal monuments to the deceased, and were filled with 
scenes from his life, and imaginary pictures of life in the 
next world. Deeply incised reliefs were introduced for 
the first time and became a special feature of the period. 
Painting reached a very high level during the Empire, and 
many fine examples are preserved in the tombs. It was 
found to be a cheaper form of interior decoration than 
sculpture, and more adapted to the light and graceful 
treatment of designs in vogue at the time, and we find in 
it the same animation that is shown in the reliefs. 

There is one striking moment in the history of the 
Empire which demands special mention here, on account 
of the individual stamp which it left upon the life of the 
time. This was the short period when important religious 
and artistic reforms were brought about by Amenhotep III.. 

^ Ancient Records of Egypt, translated by Breasted. University of Chicago 


Queen Tiy and their son Ikhnaton. The credit of 
these reforms has been generally given to Ikhnaton, but 
a careful study of the works of art and inscriptions that 
date from his parents' reign will prove that the mental 
and artistic vigour of the age was largely due to the in- 
fluence of the mother and father, and that the beliefs of 
the son were but a further development of the ideas of 
the parents. Queen Tiy, who was a woman of unusual 
gifts and force of character, helped to control the affairs 
of state after the death of her husband, during the early 
years of her son's reign, and there is no doubt that she 
exercised a profound influence upon the sensitive and 
imaginative youth. 

Ikhnaton was not only a poet and a philosopher, but 
he made war upon the state religion, and instituted a 
lofty monotheism in its place. He also extended his 
reforms to artistic matters. The young King had been 
used to the well-executed and naturalistic frescoes which 
decorated the walls of his parents' palace, and he deter- 
mined that all artists must forsake the old conventions 
and return to the observation of nature. So much must 
he have had the matter at heart that his chief sculptor, 
Bek, appended to his title the words " whom the king 
him.self taught." The result of these resolves was that 
the art of Ikhnaton's reign was full of vigour and observa- 
tion, and exercised an important influence upon the art 
of this period. The King and his relations were re- 
presented by statues and portrait busts which are obviously 
striking likenesses, and the reliefs show an honest, if 
somewhat clumsy, attempt to find their inspiration in 
nature. One of the best examples of these is in the 
museum at Berlin, and shows the Queen presenting flowers 
to the King ; while in painting, we have as examples of 
this freshly realized art the portrait of the King's little 

(late F.MI'IKE) 


1375-1358 u.c. (empire) 


daughters, in which even the effect oi chiaroscuro has been 
attempted — an attempt which after this date was not 
again repeated until Greek times nearly a thousand years 
later. The excavation of Ikhnaton's palace at Tell-el- 
Armana has also revealed how the king employed the 
realistic painting of natural objects for its scheme of 
decoration. Flights of birds are represented against a 
blue sky on the ceiling, while the pavements show fish 
and water plants, floating about in blue waters. Un- 
fortunately, after the death of Ikhnaton, art again came 
under the control of the priests, and the realistic revival 
came to an end. 

Fifth Period. — The Restoration or Saitic Period, 
663-525 B.C. Dynasty Twenty-Six 

Chief ruler : 

Psamtic I. . . 660-525 B.C. 

During the Restoration, which was a short period of 
great prosperity, a renaissance in art and literature set in. 
The Egypt of Psamtic, however, was a new Egypt, 
changed from the Egypt of olden days, and with a 
lowered vitality. The art of the Restoration was in con- 
sequence largely a deliberate return to old types and 
conventions. New temples were modelled on old designs, 
and new sculptures were, to a great extent, echoes of the 
sculpture of the past. In spite of this reversion to old 
types, a certain freedom crept into the work, and in some 
instances the old conventional canons of art were frankly 
cast aside, and realistic and carefully observed works 
of art were executed. A school of portrait sculpture also 
grew up, which produced some splendid heads, full of 
character and observation, the best being worthy to be 
ranked with the early portrait busts of Greece and Rome. 


Egyptian Chronology — DrPetrie's system of Egyptian 
chronology differs considerably from that of Professor 
Breasted, who follows the Berlin system. From the be- 
ginning of the Empire onwards, the two systems are 
almost identical, but the following dates are given by Dr 
Petrie for the early periods ^ : — 

First dynasty, Menes, c. 4777 B.C. 

Dynasties III. to VI. [Old Kingdom], c, 4212-3335 B.C. 
Dynasties XI. and XII. [Middle Kingdom], c. 2985- 
2565 B.C. 


Hymn to the Nile (xixth Dynast)') ^ 

Hail to thee, O Nile ! 

Thou showest thyself in this land, 

Coming in peace, giving life to Egypt ; . . . 

Overflowing the gardens created by Ra, 

Giving life to all animals ; 

Watering the land without ceasing . . . 

Bringer of food, great lord of provisions. 

Creator of all good things I . . . 

The inundation comes, (then) cometh rejoicing, 

Every heart exulteth . . . 

The hymn is addressed to thee with the harp, 

It is played with a skilful hand to thee. . . . 

O inundation of the Nile, offerings are made to thee, 

Oxen are slain to thee, 

Great festivals are kept for thee. ... 

Shine forth, shine forth, O Nile, shine forth. 

Giving life to men by his oxen ; 

Giving life to oxen by the pastures ! 

Shine forth in glory, O Nile. 

' A History of Egypt. Methuen. 

^ Records of the Past. Published by Samuel Bagster. 



Part I. — Elementary Lesson in Story Form 

INTRODUCTION.— Last Lesson.— This is the story of the people 
who conquered Egypt when her great days were over. The 
King whom you will hear about lived rather more than six hundred 
years before the time of Christ. 

I. Ashur-bani-pal at Nineveh — Ashur-bani-pal, 
the great King of Ass}Tia, i.s living and ruling in his palace 
in Nineveh, It is the most famous city in the world. 
Built up above the River Tigris on great terraces and 
substructures of enormous breadth, it covers miles of land 
and is ringed in by walls so broad that two chariots can 
drive abreast on them. The cit\' swarms with people of 
every nationalit}' ; foreign slaves and captives ; soldiers 
with their leathern coats and huge shields and spears ; 
merchants " whose number is greater than the stars of 
heaven " ; sorcerers, magicians, astronomers, priests, and 
country people with fruit and corn to sell. On every 
hand are signs of riches and luxury. The gold, silver, 
and inlay on the walls and doors of the temples gleam in 
the sunlight, and the merchants tempt the passers-by with 
silks, perfumes, gold, jewels, and green and purple Tyrian 
dyes. The men are strong, thick-set, and fierce looking, 
might\' warriors returning from distant wars. " Their 
horses are swifter than the leopards, and they are more 
fierce than the evening wolves ; and their horsemen bear 



themselves proudly ; yea, their horsemen come from afar : 
they fly as the eagle that hasteth to devour. Their faces 
are set as the east wind, and they gather captives as the 
sand," With cries and shouts the chariots dash past. 

"The chariots rage in the streets, 
They jostle one against another in the broad ways, 
The appearance of them is Hke torches, 
They run Hke the lightnings." 

The city is crowned by the great palace of the King, 
with its courts and gardens and many storied temple. At 
its gates huge human-headed and winged bulls, carved in 
stone, keep silent guard. They are sacred images of the 
gods and no evil spirit may pass them by. Inside the 
big court people come and go, but in the King's own 
rooms all is ordered and quiet. Servants, slaves, and 
marshals pass noiselessly to and fro, for the King is read- 
ing in his library and has given orders that none must 
disturb him. He is ill at ease and full of fears. Last 
night there was an eclipse of the moon. Its clear pale 
light had been swallowed up in darkness and the land 
had been plunged in black shadow. What could it mean ? 
How had the country offended against its gods ? The 
King walks restlessly to and fro. Sometimes he sinks 
back into his golden chair and signals to a scribe to read 
to him the story of his victories. The books are tablets 
of clay on which letters have been scratched with a stylus 
while the tablet was still unbaked. There are thousands 
of them, neatly arranged on shelves and carefully 
catalogued, and each bearing the royal stamp of the King 
and the palace. They tell of the history and wars of the 
country, of its old legends and poems, of birds, animals, 
and insects, of astrology and theology, of magic and 
mathematics. Some give lists of spoil and plunder. 


Some are inscribed with lists of omens and portents and 
their meanings. 

The King commands a scribe to read him one of the 
latter tablets, and the scribe begins : " When a piebald 
dog entereth a palace that palace will make peace with 
its foes. When a yellow dog entereth a palace there will 
be destruction in the gates thereof." The King abruptly 
stops him and sends a slave to inquire if a yellow dog 
has been seen. He then commands a second scribe to 
write down a prayer at his dictation. A damp clay tablet 
is fetched, and the King repeats a prayer to the god of 
thunder and storm who he thinks is responsible for the 
eclipse. (Extract A.) The tablet is then taken away to 
be baked, after which it will be returned to the library 
and stored in one of the shelves. At this moment a 
diversion is made by the arrival of some soldiers, who 
bring with them copies of some rare tablets from the 
palace library at Babylon, This town has been con- 
quered by Assyria and Ashur-bani-pal, who is always 
eager to add to his own library, has ordered scribes to 
undertake the work. He listens with much interest to 
the ancient poems, which he has always wanted to possess, 
and himself superintends the arrangement of the new 
tablets on the shelves. The library is a very precious 
place adjoining the temple, and under the especial pro- 
tection of the gods. As the hour is late the King retires 
to bed, for he has arranged to start off early the next 
morning on a hunting expedition. 

2. The Palace of Ashur-nasir-pal. The Hunt — 
Early the next morning all is bustle and excitement. 
Stores and provisions are packed up and tied on to big 
camels ; the soldiers of the royal guard polish up their 
bright shields and spear heads, and the King's chariot, 
harnessed to two splendid horses with gorgeous trappings. 


is brought round to the great gate of the palace. King 
Ashur-bani-pal is dressed in a long robe with heavy 
fringes and a high mitre-shaped head-dress, and by his 
side he wears a dagger, inlaid with gold and ivory. He 
mounts the chariot, and two slaves stand behind him with 
fly-flaps which they wave to and fro. The King takes 
the reins and the horses break into a gallop. The people 
crowd the streets on either side, and bow low as the-King 
passes. The foot soldiers, horses, and camels follow, and 
the whole procession leaves the town by one of the great 
gates, and passing through the big suburbs that surround 
the city, reaches the open country. 

The day is brilliantly fine, and the great River Tigris 
sweeps by its banks, broad and sparkling in the sunshine. 
The early morning air is fresh and cool, and the King 
forgets his fears of the night before, and looks back 
proudly at the splendid town behind him, with the sun 
gleaming from its battlements and from the golden dome 
of the great temple which shines like a ball of flame. 
By night the town of Calah is reached, and all enter the 
courtyard of the palace, which was built more than two 
hundred years before by Ashur-nasir-pal, a former King 
of Assyria. Ashur-bani-pal is very fond of the palace, 
for it is filled with sculptures and inscriptions telling of 
the great deeds of his ancestors. He feasts that night 
in the large hall, which is decorated with reliefs of winged 
gods and a frieze of a Hon hunt. The King decides that 
if he has good hunting the next day he, too, will call in 
sculptors, and order reliefs to be carved in his palace in 
Nineveh in celebration of the day. 

Next morning the King again rises early, and at sunrise 
has started off across the plain in his chariot. A large 
parasol shelters him from the sun, and a coachman drives 
the chariot in order that the King's hands may be free 


for the hunt. Nobles and princes accompany him, and 
behind their chariots follow soldiers and servants, and 
mules and horses bearing a tent and provisions. The 
plain is covered with a carpet of wild flowers ; birds are 
singing ; frightened hares leap away through the grass, 
and partridges rise from underneath the horses' feet. 
Gazelles bound off and are lost to sight, and wild asses 
set off at a gallop towards the distant hills. Some of the 
horsemen pursue the game, but the King turns neither to 
right nor to left, as he is watching for lions. At last a 
river is reached. A strong boat has been provided for 
the King and his chariot, but the horses and mules plunge 
in and swim over, and the soldiers, who carry specially 
prepared skins, inflate them, and with their aid are able to 
cross in safety. 

A halt is called and the tent is pitched. Here the 
King rests during the fiercest heat of the day, while 
servants light a fire and a meal is prepared. A country- 
man now arrives at the camp with the information that 
two large lions have been seen in some wooded slopes to 
the north. The King is roused, and hastily mounts his 
horse. He is armed with bow, arrows, and a spear, and 
is soon galloping over the grassy plain. Huntsmen 
scatter to right and to left, and soon an auroch, or wild 
ox, runs snorting from some bushes. Ashur-bani-pal 
starts off in pursuit, and so swift is his horse that he has 
soon overtaken the animal, and drawing alongside he 
kills it with his dagger. But where are the lions ? The 
huntsmen are still beating the thickets when suddenly, 
with a low growl, two great tawny coloured beasts creep 
out and make off in the direction of the river. In the 
twinkling of an eye the King's horse is turned, and he 
starts off in pursuit. The baying of the hounds rouses 
the lions to fury, and they turn and leap at the King and 


the noble who follows him. Ashur-bani-pal raises his 
spear, and so sure is his aim that the largest of the great 
beasts rolls dead at his feet, while the second is killed by 
the arrows of his attendants. The lions are carried back 
in triumph to the camp, and are laid at the foot of a 
small altar. Two priests stand to right and left of them, 
playing a hymn of victory upon their harps. The King 
advances, followed by the bearers of his parasol and fly- 
flap, and his Vizier hands him a golden cup of sacra- 
mental wine. This the King tastes, and then pours the 
wine over the spoil, at the same time thanking the gods 
and goddesses for their aid in the hunt. 

The next day the King has still further adventures. 
He follows another lion into the marshes, but the horse 
that he is riding stumbles in the mud and reeds, and in 
the excitement of the moment Ashur-bani-pal leaps to 
the ground and follows the great beast into the bushes 
where it has taken refuge. Here it turns, and rising on 
its hind legs prepares to spring on him, but before it has 
time the King has closed on it and has seized it by the 
ear, and plunged his spear into its heart. The lion is 
dragged into a boat which has hardly been pushed off 
from the shore when a second lion, already wounded, 
springs from the bank into the water, and with a savage 
roar makes for one of the rowers. Its fate is settled by 
an arrow from the King, and it is hauled into the boat 
and rowed back to the camp. 

When the King returns to Nineveh a few days later he 
summons his sculptors to appear before him, and com- 
mands them to carve reliefs representing the lion hunt, 
of which he gives a detailed description. He orders the 
sculptured slabs to be placed round the walls of his great 
hall, and dictates the following words to be engraved 
above them : " I, Ashur-bani-pal, King of peoples, King 






(668-626 n.c.) 


(885-860 H.C.) 



of Assyria, alone on foot, in my majesty, I seized a lion 
of the desert by the ear ; and by the mercy of Ashur and 
Ishtar, Queen of battles, I pierced it . . . with my lance, 
with mine own hands." 

3. The Fall of Thebes — There is great excitement 
in Nineveh. News has been brought by a messenger, dusty 
and travel-stained, that the proud city of Thebes has 
been sacked by the Assyrian troops, and that Egypt 
has been conquered. The victorious generals are even 
now on their way home, and will shortly deliver the spoils 
of war to the King. Great are the rejoicings in the town, 
and when the first detachment of the victorious army 
reaches the town, the whole of the population turns out to 
meet it, and, with singing and jubilation, the fierce-looking 
soldiers with their cruel hard faces " set like the east 
wind," are welcomed to their homes again. 

The generals of the army are conducted to the palace 
where the King is waiting for them in pride and im- 
patience. He is seated on his gilded throne, and has put 
on his most magnificent robe for the occasion. It is a 
state costume heavily fringed, woven with figures of the 
gods in gold and crimson and blue, and ornamented down 
the centre with a scene of the King killing a lion. Ashur- 
bani-pal has powdered his face, and his perfumed hair 
and beard are combed and arranged in heavy curls which 
fall over his shoulders and chest. Earrings hang in his 
ears and jewels round his neck and by his side is a great 
sword. The members of the court are grouped round 
the throne, and a murmur of excitement passes from one 
to another as the generals are announced and prostrate 
themselves before the King, kissing the ground at his feet. 
Following them are many slaves, who stagger under heavy 
loads. They contain some of the booty from Thebes, and 
the eyes of the King light up with greed as the treasure 


is poured at his feet — gold, ivory, and precious stones, 
electrum torn from the walls and doors of the temples, 
delicate carvings, gold and silver cups from the royal 
palaces of the Pharaohs, and rich stuffs and spices of 
every kind. The King makes a sign to the nobles who 
crowd round, fingering, touching, and examining, with 
their hard faces untroubled by any thought of the poor 
Egyptians, vanquished and sad, with their beautiful town 
on the Nile, captured and looted. They do not mind if 
many of the Egyptians have been tortured and massacred, 
and others taken into slavery. 

As this is a day of national rejoicing, the palace gates 
are thrown open, and according to custom all may enter 
and feast. Brilliantly coloured stuffs are stretched over 
the great open courtyard, and thousands of men, women, 
and children crowd in. Hurrying slaves pass to and fro 
bearing food and wine from the royal kitchens, and fruit, 
loaves, and joints of every sort disappear like snow in 
thaw. In the meantime the Queen wishes to have some 
share in the festivity, and gathering her courage together, 
she sends an invitation to the King, begging him to 
honour her with his presence that evening. She lives in 
a separate part of the palace, round which the King has 
laid out beautiful gardens full of palms and cypresses, and 
fruit trees, and flowers of every kind. Here the Queen 
awaits him, and reposing on a golden couch in the shade 
of a trellised arbour, he drinks wine with her from a 
golden bowl, and tells her of the great victories. Musicians 
play on golden harps, and fountains throw their glistening 
showers into the scented evening air. 

But the King is not happy. Again his old fears 
possess him. He feels ill and restless, and leaving the 
Queen directly the meal is over, he goes to the royal 
library and asks that the tablet should be brought to him 


on which is written a magic cure in which he has great 
belief. The scribe reads it to him. " Mix six different 
kinds of wood ; pound them with a piece of serpent ; add 
some wine and raw meat ; then form a paste of the 
mixture and let the patient swallow it." The King 
believes this to be an infallible cure for all ills, and he 
orders it to be prepared for him at once. He wanders 
about the palace, and finally turns his steps to the 
temple, and penetrates into the inner shrine where he 
and the high priest alone may enter. He stands before 
the figure of the god which can be seen faintly by the 
dim light of the flickering candles. This shrine is the 
Assyrian holy of holies. Honey was spread on the 
ground when it was built, and the very bricks that 
enclosed it in were blessed by the gods. 

Leaving the shrine, Ashur-bani-pal ascends the great 
tower of the temple. Here the royal astrologers keep 
watch over the night, their eyes fixed on the stars above. 
The King tries to find consolation in their prophecies, 
but in vain. Below him lies the great city, looking dim 
and ghostly in the moonlight. The river rushes below 
its walls, swift and unheeding. From the court of the 
palace the sounds of revelry and music float up into the 
night air, and by the light of hundreds of torches the 
moving figures of the people can be seen, dancing, 
carousing, coming and going unceasingly. Keeping 
guard over them stand the great sculptured bulls, silent 
and inscrutable. Ashur-bani-pal is the King of Assyria, 
the mightiest empire on earth, and this day his triumph 
is complete, but his heart is heavy within him, and the 
certainty of disaster hangs over him like a black cloud. 
He repeats again the prayer that is now inscribed on a 
tablet in his library, but the gods of Assyria cannot 
prevent her doom. Not in the reign of Ashur-bani-pal, 


but some twenty years later, enemies from the north and 
south descend upon the countr)-. The proud towns of 
Nineveh and Babylon give way before them, and are 
burnt and razed to the ground, and the rule of the Medes 
and Persians begins. (Extracts B and C.) 

4. The Excavations — At the beginning of the last 
century people began to interest themselves in certain 
great mounds which stood up above the rivers and plains 
of Mesopotamia. Here the Babylonians and Assyrians 
had lived and triumphed and fallen, thousands of years 
ago. Would it be possible to make excavations in these 
mounds and see if they hid within their depths traces 
of the great civilizations of the past ? A Frenchman, 
M. Botta, made the first important attempt, and laid bare 
an ancient Assyrian palace at Khorsabad, and the treasures 
he found in it were sent to the Louvre. Then Austin 
Henry Layard, an Englishman, began to dig. A peasant 
had told him that there were many things to be found 
in a great mound near his home, so Mr Layard procured 
a raft and, accompanied by a friend and one servant, 
proceeded down the River Tigris until he came to the 
place. Near the ruins a miserable hovel was found, and 
the explorers prepared to spend the night there. 

" I had slept little during the night," Layard wrote 
afterwards. " The hovel in which we had taken shelter, 
and its inmates, did not invite slumber ; but such scenes 
and companions were not new to me. They could have 
been forgotten had my brain been less excited. Hopes 
lone cherished were now to be realized. Visions of 
palaces underground, of gigantic monsters and sculptured 
figures and endless inscriptions floated before me. After 
forming plan after plan for removing the earth and 
extricating these treasures, I fancied myself wandering in 
a maze of chambers from which I could find no outlet. 


Then again all was reburied, and I was standing on a 
grass-covered mound. Exhausted, I was at length sinking 
into sleep when, hearing the voice of Awad, I rose from 
my carpet and joined him outside the hovel. The day 
had already dawned ; he had returned with six Arabs, 
who agreed for a small sum to work under my direction. 
The lofty cone and broad mound of Nimriid broke like a 
distant mountain on the morning sky." 

The efforts of Layard were crowned with success. 
Trenches were sunk into the mound ; the site of the 
ancient city of Calah was laid bare, and a wealth of treasure 
was brought to light — great figures of winged bulls with 
human heads, friezes representing lion hunts, in fact all 
the glories of the palace of Ashur-nasir-pal. A strong cart 
was made, and, with immense difficulty,the figures of the 
bulls were lowered on to it and pulled by scores of men to the 
river, where they were dispatched by rafts to the sea, and 
taken by ships to London. Encouraged by the success 
of his efforts, Layard next started excavations on the 
great mound which tradition held to be the site of 
Nineveh. Here the capital of the Assyrian kings was 
discovered, and, although the town had been ravaged by 
fire and war, the ruins still contained many relics of its 
ancient splendour. Among the things that were found 
in the palace of Ashur-bani-pal were the carved reliefs of 
his lion hunt ; the colossal figures of the gods, and 
hundreds of the tablets from his library. All these 
treasures are now in London in the British Museum, 
while far away in distant Mesopotamia corn is waving on 
the mounds that covered them, and blue bee- eaters dart 
in and out of the deserted pits. 

Notes on the Story — Paragraphs i, 2, and 3 are imaginary. The 
matter in them is largely drawn from the bas reliefs and inscriptions 
themselves. The books of the Old Testament give many vivid 


pictures of Assyrian life. Among the mass of modern books dealing 
with the subject Life in Ancient Egypt and Assyria by Professor 
Maspero, has been constantly referred to for details of the daily life 
of the people. A good description of Nineveh is given in Principal 
George Adam Smith's Book of the Twelve Prophets. 

Part II. — Material for Advanced Lessons only 

History — (a) Babylonia — During the fourth millen- 
nium B.C., when the kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt 
were flourishing in the valley of the Nile, a second nation 
was growing up in the fertile plains of the Tigris and 
Euphrates rivers in Mesopotamia. The primitive civiliza- 
tion of this country was due to people known as Sumerians, 
who had come from the hills, and who founded the early 
cities of Eridu, Nippur, and Erech, and invented the 
pictorial system of writing which developed later into the 
cuneiform characters. To the Sumerians were joined a 
people of Semitic race ; a gradual mingling of both races 
took place ; and Sumer, or South Babylonia, and Akkad, 
or North Babylonia, became one country. The small local 
states and city kingdoms which flourished during the 
years 3000-2000 B.C. were governed hy patcsi or heredi- 
tary priest-kings, who were also high priests of the local 
gods. Most of the earliest objects of Sumerian art that 
have been found date from the reign of Ur-Nina, who 
made the town of Lagash the capital of Babylonia, and 
reigned thereat some period between the years 3000-2800 
B.C. He founded a dynasty, and his reign was followed 
shortly afterwards by that of Eannatun, who is famous by 
reason of his sculptured memorial tablet known as the 
Stele of the Vultures, now in the Louvre. The reigns of 
Shargani-Sharri, known as Sargon of Akkad (r. 2750-2700 
B.C.), and his son Naram Sin, are also known to us through 
works of art, the most important being the well-known 


stele of the latter ruler, also in the Louvre, in which he is 
depicted as leading his soldiers in battle. Two hundred 
years followed of which we have little or no knowledge 
until, about the year 2450 B.C., we come to the reign of 
Gudea, also a patesi of Lagash, who, to judge by the 
result of excavations, was a keen patron of art. 

About the year 2300 B.C. the country was conquered 
by a fresh Semitic race, who raised the town of Babylon 
to the position of the capital. They appointed Marduk, 
whom they identified with Bel, or Enlil, of Nippur, as king 
of the gods, and established the first Babylonian dynasty 
about the year 2050 B.C. Another important element in 
the population was that of the Kalda or Chaldeans, who 
lived in the marshes at the mouth of the Euphrates, and 
at one time gave their name to the whole population, by 
reason of the reign of a Kalda prince at Babylon. The 
Kassites were another tribe which invaded the country, 
and at one time ruled there, and they also left their mark 
upon the people. So in this way the Babylonians were a 
mixed race, with a many- sided civilization due to the 
various elements which gave it birth. 

(b) Assyria — The rise of Assyria, the northern part 
of Babylonia, took place during the years 2100 to 2000 
B.C., and about the year 1700 B.C. the country asserted 
its independence and became a separate kingdom with 
Ashur as its capital. About the year 1250 B.C. Assyria 
conquered Babylon, but it was not until the reign of 
Tiglath-Pileser L (iioo B.C.) that the country began an 
important campaign of foreign conquests. The great da}'s 
of Assyria date from the years 800-600 B.C. when the 
Assyrian Empire was the greatest power in the Near 
East. Egypt was at her feet ; the trade of the world 
flowed through her great cities, where the merchants, 
to quote the prophet Nahum, were " more in number 



than the stars in heaven." The glories of Nineveh and 
and Babylon and the tale of their luxury and wickedness 
have been sung by the Israelite prophets, and although 
the Assyrians were not perhaps more cruel than other 
nations, their monuments and inscriptions tell of incredible 
brutality. The city of Nineveh was some three miles 
long and one mile broad. It contained beautiful parks, 
gardens, and splendid palaces and temples, and was 
capable of holding a population of 30,000 persons. It 
was enclosed by double walls, which were completed in 
the year 694 B.C., and which were named " The Wall 
that Terrified the Foe " and " The Wall whose Splendour 
Overthrows the Enemy." Beyond the walls stretched 
great suburbs and a network of smaller towns on the 
plain, and the circumference of this greater Nineveh was 
described by the prophet Jonah as " a three days' journey," 
which would be equivalent to about sixty miles. The 
whole mass of this vast population was held together by 
the greed of gain, and grew rich with the profits of trade 
and the loot of city and country-side. 

In the year 606 B.C. Assyria was attacked by all the 
nations whom she had oppressed. Nineveh was taken 
after a terrible siege, and before two years had passed the 
Empire had fallen and the rule of the Medes and Persians 
was established. 

Babylonia, however, remained independent and flourished 
for nearly seventy years. Nebuchadrezzar II. (605-562 
B.C.) was the most famous of these later Babylonian kings, 
and he did much to restore the fallen glories of his capital. 
In the book of Daniel we get a description of Belshazzar, 
one of his successors, and of the civilization of the time ; 
but its prosperity was not to endure for the country fell 
before the attacks of the Persians. The following are 
some of the chief Assyrian kings : — 


Ashur-nasir-pal III., 885-860 B.C. Lays founda- 
tions of Empire. Conquers Babylonia. A great art 
patron. Moves capital of Assyria from x-\shur to Calah 
(Nimrud), where he builds a great palace. 

Tiglath Pileser IV., 745-727 B.C. Founds Sargonide 
dynasty. Reconquers Bab)-lonia, which had revolted, 
and extends Assyrian empire on every hand. 

Sargon, 722-705 B.C. A great art patron. Builds a 
royal palace at Dur-Sharrukin (Khorsabad), near Nineveh. 

Sennacherib, 705-681 B.C. Rebuilds Nineveh (Kou- 
yunjik) and erects a royal palace there. Destroys Babylon. 

Esarhaddon, 681-668 B.C. (Ahasuerus) Rebuilds 
Babylon. Builds a palace at Calah (Nimrud). 

Ashur-bani-pal, 668-626 B.C. Assyrian Empire at 
the height of its fame. Great age of civilization and art, 
and glory of Nineveh. Conquest of Egypt and destruc- 
tion of Thebes, 661. 

Religion — Mesopotamian religion was composed of 
two elements, the beliefs of the early Sumerians and of 
the Semites. The Sumerians worshipped natural pheno- 
mena, the lightning, thunder, heat, and darkness, which they 
conceived in the form of spirits. They also believed that 
every man had a " ZI " or separate spirit of his own which 
corresponded to the " KA "or double of the " Egyptians." 
The Semites conceived their chief god as the Lord of 
Heaven and earth, in whose image man had been created. 
His visible form was the sun, and his powers were used 
both for good and evil, for bringing to birth and for 
scorching and withering. The spirits of the Sumerians 
were feared as powers for evil to be exorcised by 
magicians and sorcerers. As the two races amal- 
gamated Semitic influence caused the chief of the 
Sumerian spirits to be raised to the position of gods, with 
priests and temples dedicated to their service. The 


Assyrians took their religion from the Babylonians, with 
the difference that they deified their country in the form 
of the god Ashur, whom they placed above all the other 
gods in power and majesty. The following are some of 
the chief among the Babylonian gods : — 

Anu. Earliest and greatest of Babylonian gods, lord 
of heaven and father of the gods. Centre of worship, 
Erech. Symbol, a column. 

En-lil. The second great Babylonian god, the lord of 
earth. Centre of worship, Nippur. Afterwards identified 
with Bel, Baal, Marduk, or Merodach the sun god, 
and chief deity of the city of Babylon. He was also 
considered the god of battle. Symbol, a shape like a 
horned hat on a column. 

Ea or Enki. The god of the deep and third of the 
Babylonian gods. The giver of wisdom and the god of 
creation. Centre of worship, Eridu, which in former 
days, before the retreating of the sea, stood on the shores 
of the Persian Gulf. Symbol, a ram's head on a column 
set on a rectangular throne, beneath which lies the fish- 
tailed Capricorn. Ea has sometimes been identified with 
Cannes, the god represented as half-man, half-fish. 

Nabu or Nebu, son of Marduk, and the messenger of 
the gods. The god of fate and astronomy. Centre of 
worship, Borsippa (Bors Nimrud), the tradition site of the 
tower of Babel. 

Adad or Ramman. The god of storm and thunder, 
also of war, associated with the flood. Symbol, a 
lightning bolt. 

Nergal. God of the dead and ruler over the lower 
regions ; also god of war and of the chase. He re- 
presented the midday heat of the sun and was 
identified with the planet Mars. Symbol, a lion-headed 


Sin or En-zu, the moon god. Centre of worship, 
Ur. Symbol, a crescent. 

Shamash, the sun god, and god of healing and 
beneficent power. The great judge of the universe. 

Ishta (Astarte or Ashteroth). The goddess of love 
and of the evening star. Earliest seat of her worship at 
Erech. Identified with the planet Venus. 

There were also hosts of lesser gods, and evil beings 
such as Timat, the dragon, symbolizing the powers of 
chaos and darkness. Gilgamish was a heroic figure of 
Babylonian legend. He has sometimes been identified 
with the mythical Nimrod, the mighty hunter, and is 
frequently represented in art. The Shedi and Lamassi 
were colossal beings, half-god, half-animal, which, carved 
in stone, guarded the approaches of temple and palace 
from the powers of malign spirits. Among the latter 
ghouls, the spirit " Headache " was one of the most 
alarming and deadly, and also the Spirit of the West 
Wind which left fever and drought in its wake. The 
number of these evil spirits was legion, and endless were 
the spells and incantations provided to repulse their 

The Babylonians had a sad and gloomy belief as to the 
life after death. They imagined that deep down in the 
crust of the earth was a great cavern, and here, in Hades, 
mortals dwelt after death, guarded by seven warders at 
its seven gates. They were clothed in feathers like great 
birds, and their only food was dust. The name given to 
this gloomy region was arallu, " the land without 
return." The dead were regarded as nearer to the 
gods than to mortals, and could answer questions 
through the necromancers and sorcerers. The gods, 
on the other hand, were only to be approached through 
the official channel of the priests. 


Owing to the marshy condition of the soil, compara- 
tively few Babylonian and Assyrian graves have been 
discovered. It is thought by some that the people 
cremated their dead, but if so the custom has not been 
mentioned on any of the inscriptions that have been dis- 
covered. Tombs were built of brick, and in them food, 
drink, and sometimes furniture were placed for the benefits 
of the " kis " or doubles. Sometimes these tombs con- 
tained many rooms, but in spite of this, very little im- 
portance was attached to them and to tomb art in general. 
Tombs were built on consecrated ground near the chief 
temple of the district, and as the space was limited, when 
the sun-dried bricks crumbled away and nothing remained 
of them but mounds of dust and rubbish, fresh tombs were 
built upon the old sites. Some of the old cemeteries that 
have been discovered reveal in this way the different strata 
of past ages, while to this day many of the peoples of 
Western Asia bring their dead to be buried in the sacred 
Temple enclosures, the well-springs of their ancient 
religion. The official religion was different in many of 
its aspects from that believed in by the people, which 
was of a much degraded type. Whereas the general 
mass of the stars was worshipped by the uneducated 
classes, in educated circles certain of them only were 
identified with the different gods. Again, the lower 
classes resorted to the worship of multitudinous spirits, 
and to the witchcraft of sorcerers and magicians, while 
in certain literary circles monotheism was believed in. 
The Penitential Psalms, forming part of the Babylonian 
Bible, and dating from long before the time of Abraham, 
show great dignity and beauty of thought and belief 
Here are three fragments from them. 

" God my creator, take hold of my arms ! Direct the breath of 
my mouth, my hands direct, O Lord of light. 


*' Lord, let not Thy servant sink I Amidst the tumultuous waters 
take hold of his hand ! 

"He who fears not his God will be cut off even like a reed. 
He who knows not his goddess, his bodily strength will waste 
away ; like to a star of heaven, his splendour will pale ; he will 
vanish to the waters of the night." 

Architecture — The buildings of the Babylonians were 
made of brick, as there was very little stone to be had in 
their marshy and low-lying country. The clay from the 
banks of the great rivers, when moulded, was either dried 
in the sun or baked in kilns. When stone had to be used 
it was brought from a distance and was generally of a hard 
volcanic kind, such as basalt or diorite. Great brick plat- 
forms were used as foundations for buildings to raise them 
above the marshy ground. The bricks were generally laid 
when still soft, and were frequently stamped with the King's 
name and an inscription. They were cemented together 
first with mud and in later days with clay mixed with a 
little water and sometimes with straw. The Assyrians 
followed Babylonian traditions in building, as in every- 
thing else, and although drier and firmer ground often 
rendered platforms unnecessary, the people continued to 
build them as foundations for temples and palaces. In 
the same way bricks were universally used, although the 
country possessed a fair supply of limestone and alabaster. 
The latter materials were employed in decoration, and 
served to line walls and make pavements and sometimes 
columns and plinths. Wood was brought from a distance 
for pillars and roofs, although the latter are thought to 
have been frequently vaulted and made of brick. Many 
bas-reliefs represent buildings as surmounted by a series 
of small domes, and they also show, as an almost invariable 
feature of Mesopotamian architecture, a parapet with a 
crenelated edge as the decoration to a flat roof. Walls 
were of great thickness. In Sargon's palace at Khorsabad 


the inner ones measure from twelve to twenty-eight feet in 
width, and this has been mentioned in support of the 
theory of domed roofs which would necessitate strong 

Babylonian and Assyrian temples have been discovered 
in a worse state of preservation than that of the 
palaces. The earliest were probably built with only one 
or two stages, but later seven of these were frequently 
erected above the artificial platform on which the temple 
stood. These ziggurats or staged towers were built " to 
reach the heavens," and as kings were sometimes buried 
in them, some archaeologists have drawn a parallel between 
them and the Egyptian pyramids. The temples, which 
were enclosed by massive walls, contained chambers for 
the priests' treasure, houses, granaries, and enclosures for 
the sacrificial victims. Hidden in their inmost recess, or 
sometimes erected on the highest stage of the tower, was 
the holy of holies, containing the golden table, mercy 
seat, altar, and statue of the god. The very ground on 
which the temple was built was holy, having been con- 
secrated with libations of honey, oil, and wine. 

A contemporary description of one of these temples 
is given by Tiglath-Pileser I. (iioo B.C.), who, when he 
repaired the temple of Anu- Adad (founded circa 1 1 40 B.C.), 
recorded his act in the following words : — 

" In the beginning of my government, Anu and Adad, 
the great gods, my lords, who love my priestly dignity, 
demanded of me the restoration of this their sacred 
dwelling. I made bricks, and I cleared the ground until 
I reached the artificial flat terrace upon which the old 
temple had been built. I laid its foundations upon the 
solid rock ; I built it from foundation to roof larger and 
grander than before, and erected also two great temple 
towers, fitting ornaments of their great divinities. The 

PLATE nil 

(The_fi;i:UTes 0/ drai^ons a}td bulls in glased ti-rra-cotta are sacred syinhols of the i^vds) 


splendid temple, a brilliant and magnificent dwelling, the 
habitation of their joys, the house for their delight, 
shining as bright as the stars on heaven's firmament, and 
richly decorated with ornaments through the skill of my 
artists, I planned, devised, and thought out, built and 
completed. I made its interior brilliant like the dome of 
the heavens ; decorated its walls like the splendour of the 
rising stars ; and made it grand with resplendent bril- 
liancy. I reared its temple towers to heaven and com- 
pleted its roof with burnt brick ; located therein the 
upper terrace containing the chambers of their great 
divinities ; and led into its interior Anu and Adad the 
great gods, and made them dwell in this, their lofty home, 
thus gladdening the heart of their great divinities . . ." ' 

The famous " hanging gardens " of Babylon were built 
upon terraces supported by pillars and arches, and formed 
one of the most distinctive features of the palaces. It is 
noticeable that while in Egypt the temples were the 
buildings of the greatest grandeur, in Babylonia and 
Assyria the position is reversed, and the palaces were the 
most splendid monuments. 

Sculpture — The earliest Babylonian sculptures that 
have been found are bas-reliefs, and date from the reigns 
of Ur-Nina, Eannatun, and the kings of Akkad — Sargon 
and his son Naram Sin. The sculptures of Ur-Nina are 
primitive and interesting in type, while a great technical 
advancement is shown in the stele of Naram Sin, now 
in the Louvre, which represents figures full of vigour, and 
comparatively free from convention. About two hundred 
and fifty years later, during the reign of Gudea, priest- 
king of Lagash, a great deal of sculpture in the round was 
produced, work which shows the influence of Egyptian 

^ Harper's translation from Handcock's Mesopotamian Archirology, pub- 
lished by Mr Philip Lee Warner. 


art, and which is often clumsy, but which is also full of 
interest, and frequently reveals considerable originality 
and force. After the time of Gudea a long period of 
artistic stagnation seems to have set in, and hardly any 
works of art have been found until we come to the time 
of the great days of Assyria. 

The most famous examples of Assyrian sculpture date 
from the three hundred years before the fall of the 
Empire, and the greater number of them have been 
found in the palaces of Ashur-nasir-pal at Nineveh and 
Nimrud (Calah), of Sargon at Dur-Sharrukin (Khorsabad), 
and of Ashur-bani-pal, also at Nineveh. The favourite 
form of Assyrian sculpture was the bas-relief, a method 
which was particularly well adapted to the soft limestone 
and alabaster found in the hills. While the Babylonians plas- 
tered the walls and covered them with frescoes, or adorned 
them with moulded terra-cotta decorations, the Assyrians 
lined their halls and temples with carved slabs on which 
the deeds and triumphs of the kings were set forth. 
Even the colossal figures of Genii, half bull, half human, 
which guarded the doors of temple and palace and were 
called the Shedi and Lamassi were, to a certain extent, 
great bas-reliefs and not completely sculpture in the 

The following description of some of these famous sculp- 
tures formed part of an inscription of King Esarhaddon. 
" The Shedi and Lamassi are propitious, are the guardians 
of my royal promenade and the rejoicers of my heart ; 
may they ever watch over the palace and never quit its 
walls. ... I caused doors to be made in cypress, which 
has a good smell, and I had them adorned with gold and 
silver, and fixed in the doorways. Right and left of these 
doorwavs I caused Shedi and Lamassi of stone to be 
set up. They are placed there to repulse the wicked." 


Just as the Sphinx of the Egyptians expressed in- 
telligence and strength, so these great sculptures re- 
presented the mind and brain of man, the physical force 
of the bull and the swiftness of an eagle's wings. They 
are highly conventionalized and splendid in design, and 
the sense of calm and tranquil majesty in which they are 
wrapped is still potent, even when the sculptures stand in 
the crowded galleries of museums. They also present a 
curious feature which is common to Ninevite art alone. 
In order that they should look complete when seen from 
either the front or the side, they were given a fifth leg, a 
device which may also be noticed in the magnificent figure 
of a lion, formerly in the temple of Ashur-nasir-pal at 
Calah (Nimrud), and now in the British Museum (see 
Plate VII.). 

Equally famous are the series of bas-reliefs representing 
the gods and sovereigns, and the wars and sport of the 
Assyrian kings. The growth and development of these 
reliefs can be traced in the Assyrian rooms of the British 
Museum, from the bold, vigorous work of Ashur-nasir-pal, 
somewhat archaic in design, to the delicate and spirited 
productions of Ashur-bani-pal's reign, which are full of 
observation, but lack the force of the earlier work. In 
all these reliefs the artistic conventions of the Assyrians 
are apparent, such as the expression of strength by 
enormous and exaggerated muscles and a sameness of 
face, common to all the figures. When the reliefs are 
closely examined it will be seen that no attempt has 
been made to differentiate the faces of the various 
characters represented, and that even the King's features 
are exact facsimiles of those of his servants, soldiers, and 

The exaggeration of the muscles has led to an in- 
teresting comparison of Egyptian and Assyrian sculpture 


by M. Perrot. " The Egyptian sculptor simplifies the 
forms of nature, and sums them up, as it were, in an 
abbreviated abstract ; the Assyrian renders them more 
at length and in detail. The former seems to see the 
human body through a fine veil, which hides from his 
view all accidents of surface and all unessential features, 
so as to leave visible nothing but the main outlines and 
the general effect of the contour. On the other hand, 
the Assyrian sculptor appears to study nature through 
a magnifying glass ; he emphasizes the things that the 
Egyptian refines away ; he observes and exaggerates," ^ 

The perspective of the reliefs is very elementary, but 
the feeling for movement and animation displayed in 
them is excellent, particularly in the case of the lions, 
which have been most sympathetically studied. The 
Assyrians, unlike the Egyptians, were unaccustomed to 
the nude, and this fact naturally affected their sculpture 
for the worse, particularly in the case of work in the 
round, which they seem hardly ever to have attempted. 

Interesting references to Assyrian sculpture are found 
in the following description of the palace of Sargon 
at Khorsabad, which formed part of an inscription in the 
great hall : — 

" I built in the town some palaces covered with the 
skin of the sea calf, and of sandal wood, ebony, the wood 
of the mastic tree, cedar, cypress, wild pistachio-nut tree, 
a palace of incomparable splendour as the seat of my 
royalty. ... I bordered the doors of pine and mastic 
wood with bronze garnitures. ... I made a spiral stair- 
case. . . . Between the doors I placed eight double lions; 
over them I sculptured artistically a crown of beasts of the 
fields, a bird in stone of the mountains. I drew upon me 

^ Translation quoted from .4 Gramma?- of Greek Art. P. Gardner. 


the admiration of the people of all countries. From the 
beginning to the end I walked worshipping the god 
Assur, and following the custom of wise men I built 
palaces, I amassed treasures. ... I invoked in the midst 
of them Assur, the father of the gods. I presented 
vessels of glass, things in chased silver, ivory, valuable 
jewels, and immense presents in great quantities. I 
exhibited sculptured idols, double and winged. . . . May 
Assur, the father of the gods, bless these palaces by 
giving to his images a spontaneous splendour. . . . May 
the sculptured bull, the protector and god who imparts 
perfection, dwell, in day and in night time in his presence, 
and never stir from this threshold." ^ 

Painting, Enamelled Terra-cotta, etc. — Painting 
formed the chief decoration of Babylonian buildings, the 
brick walls of which were covered with white or lisfht- 


coloured plaster for the sake of coolness. On this surface 
simple decorations or elaborate frescoes were painted, to 
satisfy the people's love of gay colour, paintings such as 
those alluded to in the Book of Ezekiel, " men pourtrayed 
upon the wall, the images of the Chaldeans, pourtrayed 
with vermilion, with dyed turbans upon their heads, all of 
them princes to look upon, after the likeness of the 
Babylonians." The Assyrians, although using bas-reliefs 
as their favourite form of decoration, also employed 
fresco painting, but unfortunately very few examples of 
the art, either Babylonian or Assyrian, have been pre- 
.served. The walls of the palace at Nimrud were covered 
with elaborate examples, but they all crumbled away on 
being exposed to the air. The colours used were chiefly 
royal blue and yellow, while red, green, and black were 
less popular. They were seldom used in imitation of 
nature, but were employed for purely decorative effect. 

* Records of the Fast, S. Bagster. 


Many of the bas-reliefs show traces of colour, and old 
inscriptions and travellers' tales speak of the brilliance of 
the decorations, particularly those of the ziggurats, which 
had each successive stage painted with a different planetary 
colour, and which in the brilliant sunlight must have 
looked dazzling in the extreme. 

Herodotus gives an account of the painting of the 
walls of Ecbatana, the chief city of the Medes. As they 
copied the art of the Assyrians in every detail, this 
description can in all probability be applied to the famous 
cities of Mesopotamia. It runs as follows : " The Medes 
built the city now called Agbatana, the walls of which 
are of great size and strength, rising in circles one within 
the other. The number of the circles is seven, the ro}-al 
palace and the treasuries standing within the last. The 
circuit of the outer wall is very nearly the same as that 
of Athens. Of this wall the battlements are white, o-f 
the next black, of the third scarlet, of the fourth blue, of 
the fifth orange ; all these are coloured with paint ; the 
two last respectively with silver and gold." ^ 

Another favourite form of architectural decoration with 
the Babylonians was that of glazed terra-cotta. The 
tiles or small bricks were moulded by hand, and the 
designs that ornamented them were then coloured and 
covered with a coat of glaze. They were then baked 
in an oven and fitted together, and many of the friezes 
that have been discovered testify to the excellence of this 
branch of art (see Plate VIII.). The ceilings, walls, and 
doorways of the palaces and temples were also inlaid 
with rare and costly woods, and sometimes with plates of 
gold and other precious metals, and were incrusted with 
ivory and even precious stones. Textiles of rich and 
elaborate design were produced, and are witnessed to by 

^ Rawlinson's translation. Murray. 


the robes represented in the bas-reliefs. The furniture in 
the palaces was inlaid with ivory, ebony, and precious 
metals, and many of the seats and couches had legs 
carved in the form of the legs of oxen. The Assyrians used 
glass and porcelain, and although it is not known when 
their manufacture was introduced, it is probable that 
transparent glass was first invented in the reign of 
Sargon. They also produced the most elaborate 
vessels of gold, bronze, and silver, frequent mention 
of which is made in the prophetic books of the Old 

Seals — The seal-cylinder was a Babylonian invention. 
As the houses had no locks, doors were sealed with clay 
for safety, and every man carried a seal with which to 
impress the wet material. These seals were exactly like 
small garden rollers in form, and had a piece of wire 
inserted through the centre to form the handle. On 
them were engraved mythological or historic scenes, 
which were imprinted on the clay when the rollers were 
passed over it. The oldest of the seals were made of 
shell or white marble, and later various stones were 
employed, and sometimes lapis-lazuli. The designs of 
the most ancient of them furnish some of the earliest 
examples of Babylonian art. 

Persian Art — Persian art was founded upon the art 
of the Babylonians and Assyrians and was also influenced 
by the art of the Greeks and Egyptians. The Persian 
Empire, which was the most vast of the ancient Oriental 
empires, lasted for less than two hundred years, and with 
its downfall the ancient Persian art of the Achaemenid 
dynasty came to an end. The Persians were simple 
hardy people of small culture, and when they found them- 
selves the rulers of wide dominions they adopted the 
current artistic styles of their new subjects, blending one 


with another until a brilliant and eclectic style of their 
own was produced. The great halls of the royal palaces 
at Susa and Persepolis were modelled on the design of the 
Egyptian halls with their many columns, while the bas- 
reliefs and human headed bulls that formed their decora- 
tions were copied from the Assyrian and Babylonian 
sculptures. From the Ionian Greeks the Persians copied 
the flat wooden roofs of their buildings and various archi- 
tectural refinements, but certain of the capitals of their 
columns were an invention of their own and consisted of 
the fore-parts of two bulls, or unicorns, placed back to 
back with their front legs doubled back beneath them. 
The Persians also brought the art of glazed and enamelled 
bricks to great perfection, and some splendid examples of 
friezes executed in this method have been excavated. 
At the fall of the Persian empire the people of Mesopo- 
tamia reverted to their own old art forms, and vaulted 
and domed roofs were once more used to surmount build- 
ings. Later Persian art of the Sassanid period will be 
touched upon in Lesson XI. 


" O Ramman (the god of thunder and storm) the prince of heaven 
and earth, at whose command mankind was created, speak thou the 
word and let the gods take their stand by thee. Plead thou my cause 
and grant me a favourable judgment. For I, Ashur-bani-pal, am thy 
servant ... I make my petition unto thee because of the evil which 
followeth the eclipse of the moon and the hostility of the powers of 
heaven, and evil portents are in my palace and my land, and because 
evil bewitchment . . . and iniquity . . . are in my body ; and because an 
evil spectre is bound unto me. Accept thou the lifting up of my hand, 
give heed unto my prayer, set me free from the spell which bindeth 


me, do away with my sin and let there be averted any evil whatsoever 
which threateneth my life. Let a good spirit be ever at my head. 
Let me live by thy command ! Let me bow down and extol thy 
greatness I " ' 


ia) From the Book of the prophet Zephaniah j {b) from the Book of 
the prophet Nahum. 

(a) " The Lord will . . . stretch out His hand against the North and 
destroy Assyria ; and will make Nineveh a desolation and dry like 
the wilderness. And herds shall lie down in the midst of her, all the 
beasts of the nations ; both the pelican and the porcupine shall lodge 
in the chapiters thereof; their voice shall sing in the windows; 
desolation shall be in the thresholds. This is the joyous city that 
dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart 1 am, and there is none else 
beside me. Now she is become a desolation, a place for the beasts to 
lie down in. Everyone that passeth her by shall hiss and wag his 

(d) " Take ye the spoil of silver. 
Take the spoil of gold, 
For there is none end of the store. 
The glory of all pleasant furniture. 

She is empty and void and waste. 

And the heart melteth and the knees smite together, 
And anguish is in all loins. 

And the faces of them all are waxed pale . . . 

Nineveh is laid waste, who shall bemoan her? 
Whence shall I seek comforters for thee ? . . . 

All thy fortresses shall be like fig trees with the first ripe figs ; 

If they be shaken 

They fall into the mouth of the eater. . . . 

^ Guide to the Babylonian and Assyrian Antiquities. British Museum 


Thy crowned are as the locusts and thy marshals as swarms of 

Which camp in the hedges in the cold day, 
But when the sun arises they flee away, 

And the place is not known where they are. 

\ Thy shepherds slumber, O King of Assyria, 

1 Thy worthies are at rest ; 

. ' Thy people are scattered upon the mountains, 

And there is none to gather them. 


There is no assuaging of thy hurt ; 

Thy wound is grievous ; 
All that hear the bruit of thee clap hands over thee, 

For upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually ?" 



FroiJi the thirteenth chapter of Isaiah. 

"... and Babylon 
The glories of kingdoms, 
The beauty of the Chaldeans' pride, 
Shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. 

It shall never be inhabited 
Neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation ; 
Neither shall the Arabian pitch his tent there, 
Neither shall the shepherds make their flocks to lie down there. 

But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there ; 

And the houses shall be full of doleful creatures ; 
And ostriches shall dwell there, 
And satyrs shall dance there, 

And wolves shall cry in their castles. 
And jackals in their pleasant places, 
And her time is near to come. 
And her days shall not be prolonged." 



Description of the false gods of Babylonia and Assyria. 
F7-07n the sixth chapter of the Book of the prophet Bariich?- 

" Now ye shall see in Babylon gods of silver and of gold 
and of wood, borne upon shoulders which cause the nation to 
fear. . . . 

"As for their tongue it is polished by the workmen, and they 
themselves are gilded and laid over with silver ; yet they are but 
false and cannot speak. . . . 

" Yet these gods cannot save themselves from rust and moths, 
though they be covered with purple raiment. 

"They wipe their faces because of the dust of the temple, when 
there is much upon them. 

" And he that cannot put to death one that offendeth him, 
holdeth a sceptre, as though he were a judge of the country. 

" He hath also in his hand, a dagger and an axe, but cannot 
deliver himself from war and thieves. . . . 

"Their faces are blackened through the smoke that cometh out 
of the temple. 

" Upon their bodies and heads sit bats, swallows, and birds 
and the cats also. . . . 

" They are borne upon shoulders, having no feet, whereby they 
declare unto men that they be nothing worth. . . . 

" If they fall to the ground at any time they cannot rise up again 
of themselves, neither if one set them upright can they move of 
themselves. . . . 

"They can save no man from death, neither deliver the weak 
from the mighty. 

" They cannot restore a blind man to his sight, nor help any 
man in his distress. . . . 

"They are made of carpenters and goldsmiths; they can be 
nothing else than the workmen will have them to be. . . . 

" For as a scarecrow in a garden of cucumbers keepeth 

^ Tell the children that in some of the temples that have been excavated, little 
blind passages have been found behind the shrines in the holy of holies. Here 
the priest could hide and work unseen the miracles of the gods. 


nothing, so are their gods of wood and laid over with silver 
and gold. 

"And likewise their gods of wood and laid over with silver and 
gold are like to a white thorn in an orchard, that every bird 
sitteth upon. . . . 

" Better then is the just man that hath none idols, for he shall 
be far from reproach.' 


Part I. — Elementary Lesson in Story Form 

INTRODUCTION.— Who were the first peoples who learnt to 
write and make laws, and to build and paint ? After the Egyptians 
and Babylonians the next people to be civilized were the Chinese. 
We hear of them first when the pyramids were being built. This is a 
story about a great Chinese painter, who lived, however, long after 
Rahotep and Nefert, Queen Hatshepsut and Queen Tiy, and Ashur- 
bani-pal of Assyria. (Refer to chart.) 

I. Youth — Once upon a time there was a boy called 
Wu-Tao-Tzu. He lived in a big town in China, far away 
on the other side of the world. The Emperor lived there 
too, in a great palace, but the part of the town in which 
Wu lived was dirty and crowded, for his mother and 
father were dead, and no one cared very much for him, 
and he had no money. Sometimes he would lodge in one 
house, sometimes another family would take him in ; 
more often still he would curl up and sleep under the 
shadow of a big roof, or leave the town and find shelter 
under some friendly tree. He loved the beauty of nature, 
and would lie awake spellbound by the white beauty of 
the moonlight and the dark pools of shadow beneath the 
trees. The flowers were so beautiful that they would 
bring tears to his eyes, and when the dawn broke, and the 
little birds twittered, and the long grasses bent under 
their weight of dew, and the sun burnt in the blue skies 



he would forget all his troubles, and sing and whistle with 

Sometimes he had to dig in the rice fields until his 
back and arms ached, and sometimes he had to help to 
carry wood or bricks for building, or else to do housework, 
and clean and scrub. How he hated it all ! When he 
was very unhappy he would creep away and slip into the 
big temple near by. There in the dusk was a great 
statue of Buddha, the god whom the Chinese worshipped. 
It sat cross-legged, an inscrutable smile upon its lips, lost 
in thought. But what \Vu loved most of all were the 
pictures painted on the temple walls. He was never 
tired of gazing at them, at the great dragons and savage- 
looking tigers, and the figures of men and women, with 
their pale faces, and long almond-shaped Chinese eyes. 

One day, when Wu paid his morning visit to the 
temple, he saw a Buddhist priest drawing on one of the 
walls. Wu squatted on the ground by his side, and 
watched him, entranced, his bright dark eyes riveted on 
him as he worked, until the priest became conscious of 
him, and laid down his brush. "So you like painting?" 
he asked him. " Yes, indeed," Wu answered, " I love it 
more than anything else, and I want to be a painter like 
you, when I grow up," he added eagerly. The priest was 
amused at the boy's interest. " Here is a brush," he said, 
" dip it into the ink, and show what you can do." Wu 
took the brush, and thought for a minute ; then, trembling 
with excitement, he made a few rapid strokes on the piece 
of paper that the priest had given him. The painter 
watched him, amazed. Wu had drawn a spray of blossom, 
suggesting, with a few lines only, all the beauty of its 
delicate growth and exquisite leaves and petals ; even the 
fragrance of the spring seemed to lurk in the drawing. 
The painter asked him who had taught him to draw, and 


Wu answered that nobody had taught him, but that he 
had watched painters when they worked, and that he loved 
all the flowers and trees and animals, and often tried to 
draw them. The priest told Wu to come again the next 
day, and after that many lessons followed, until Wu began 
to paint so well that the people began to talk of him, and 
to take an interest in his work. 

One day a wonderful thing happened. Who should 
come to Wu but a messenger from the Emperor himself 
He brought a summons commanding the boy to come to 
the palace, as the famous ruler of the country had heard 
of his skill, and wanted to see what the boy could do. 
Wu went in fear and trembling, and prostrated himself 
before the throne, for he was terrified at all the magnifi- 
cence that surrounded him. He need not have been 
afraid, however, for the Emperor was a great lover of art, 
and was so pleased with the bo}''s extraordinary gifts 
that he there and then took Wu into his service. His 
ragged clothes were taken away, and, well fed and dressed, 
he began his life at the palace, together with a regular 
training in art. 

2. Symbolic and Landscape Painting — Wu grew 
up to be a very great painter. Never before in China had 
there been an artist of such genius. His fame travelled 
far and wide over the land. The Emperor was deter- 
mined that his palace should be decorated by Wu, and one 
day he called him. " I want you to cover the walls with 
frescoes," he said ; " think out your own subjects and 
begin the work at once." Wu worked with extraordinary 
speed, and never hesitated. He decided to paint dragons 
and tigers in the first great hall. In China a dragon 
represented spiritual power, mystery and change, and a 
tiger meant physical power and force. What better 
inspiration could Wu have ? Getting a pile of brushes, 


and mixing his ink, he began to draw in the outh'nes with 
a brush. He made his dragons so awful and mysterious 
that the people who watched him held their breath. The 
strange beasts seemed to curl and twist, half lost in cloud, 
while the tigers were so fierce and savage that all shrank 
back trembling. " His fingers must be guided by a god," 
the people murmured, lost in wonder. 

Another day the Emperor again sent for Wu. " I have 
heard of the beauty of the great Chi-a-ling river," he said. 
" I long to see what it is like, and for this reason you shall 
travel there and paint it for me, and bring me back the 
pictures." Nothing could be more delightful to Wu, for 
he loved the beauty of nature even more passionately than 
he did when he was a bo}'. He set off on his journey, and 
soon the face of the country changed ; the hills became 
wild and rocky, with woods clinging to the steep slopes. 
At last one day the low and distant roar of waters told 
him that the journey's end would soon be reached. Wu 
left his servants and horses behind him, and, pushing down 
the wooded slopes of a ravine, he saw the great river at 
last through the trees. Parting the tangled undergrowth, 
and skirting the big boulders and rocks, he found himself 
on the river banks. With a sound like dull thunder the 
water rushed over the rocky bed, and hurling itself over a 
sharp fall of rock, was half lost to sight in a cloud of spray. 
A little rainbow hung trembling in the misty air, and trees, 
drenched in sunlight and dripping with myriad sparkling 
drops, bent over the water's edge. High above a hawk 
circled, and across the river the mountains rose ridge upon 
ridge against the blue sky. Wu stood spellbound, draw- 
ing deep breaths of delight. Hour after hour he stood 
there motionless, drinking in the beauty of the scene, lost in 
awe and wonder. Day after day he lingered by the river 
until the time came when he must return. When he 


A hai;hahia.\ hinting 

(A con!einfiorary 0/ Wu-Tao-Tzif ) 


reached the palace once more, the Emperor exclaimed, in 
anger and surprise, " But where are your paintings ?" "I 
have them all in my heart," Wu answered, and, going into 
one of the palace halls, he proceeded to cover the walls 
with marvellous paintings, until the river and mountains 
lived again in all their beauty before the Emperor. 

Religious Paintings — One day Wu thought that he 
would paint a picture in the temple showing the torments 
that await evil-doers. He painted the place where he 
thought that they would go to when they died, and the 
things that they would have to suffer, and when the 
painting was done the people were allowed to see it. 
Many of the townspeople crowded in, among them the 
butchers and fishmongers. Now, these men were not 
honest, for they cheated the people who bought goods 
from them, so when they saw the dreadful scene that Wu 
had painted, they were filled with terror, and, rushing 
back to their shops, they hastily collected their belongings 
and departed, vowing that they would give up their trades 
at once rather than face the results of evil-doing, as Wu 
had pictured it. W'u, however, did not only paint terrify- 
ing pictures in the temples. He painted one picture, 
which was perhaps the finest that China had ever seen. 
It showed the god Buddha leaving this world, where he 
first lived as a mortal. He was shaded by a great tree, 
and his face was calm and full of mystery, but those 
around him were distracted with grief at his death. 
Kings, princes, priests, warriors wailed and rent them- 
selves, while even the animals, the tigers, lions and 
elephants rolled in sorrow upon the ground. In the air 
the birds cried shrilly with grief, and the angels lamented 
above. This picture became so famous that for hundreds 
of years afterwards, all the painters who followed took it 
for their model. 


The End of Wu-Tao-Tzu — The end of Wu is lost 
in legend. Strange tales are told of him. One day he 
went to a Buddhist monastery to paint a picture for the 
monks, but instead of receiving the great man politely, 
they were rude to him. What did Wu do ? He said 
nothing, but painted a donkey on the wall. It was so 
lifelike that it looked as if it could move and bray, and 
when the monks came into the room next morning, lo 
and behold I the donkey had kicked the wall to pieces 
and had vanished in the night. Even more strange is 
the last story about Wu. He painted a most beautiful 
landscape on one of the palace walls. When it was 
finished he covered it with a curtain, and then requested 
the Emperor to come and see it. The ruler was filled 
with astonishment at its beauty, for it showed great 
forests and mountains, with birds in flight across the sky 
above. " Look in the cave at the foot of the mountain," 
said Wu, " there dwells a spirit." He clapped his 
hands, and at once the door at the entrance of the cave 
flew open. " The interior is beautiful beyond words ; 
permit me to show you the way," added Wu. He passed 
into the cave, and the door closed after him ; the painting 
faded away and Wu was seen no more. 

Notes on the Story — The story of Wu-Tao-Tzu is imaginary, but is 
founded on the account of the painter's life given in Professor Giles 
Introduction to the History of Chifiesc Pictorial Art. The legendary 
life of the painter that is given there no doubt incorporates a certain 
amount of truth, for Wu-Tao-Tzu is the greatest of all Chinese 
painters, and his name is still a household word in China. The only 
one of the main incidents in the story that is not founded on legend, 
is the account of the boy watching the priest and being taught by 
him. Wu-Tao-Tzu was born at the beginning of the eighth century A.D., 
near the capital of Lo Yang, and from the first was celebrated for his 
"imaginative realism and tremendous powers of conception." It is 
not certain if any of his paintings exist to-day. There are seven or 
eight examples of work which are considered to be old or con- 


temporary copies of his pictures, and one or two among them are 
accepted as genuine by a number of Japanese critics. Reproductions 
of most of them can be seen in the pages of the Kokka and the 
Select Relics, aUhough in most instances the originals are now 
very worn and indistinct. Professor Fenollosa, writing of Wu-Tao-Tzu 
under his Japanese name of Godoshi, says that there is "a certain 
primal and universal energy in Godoshi's design which has hardly 
ever been surpassed in the whole range of the world's art." 

Type of Question for this Lesson — ^What would a Chinese child 
think of the appearance of an English child? (Illustrate by the story 
of the Chinese girl, who, when shown a drawing by Du Maurier, 
asked: "Are they really as ugly as that?") Show examples of 
Chinese and European painting, and help the children to realize the 
different ideals that they represent — the Chinese dislike oi cliiarosctiro, 
and their intense reverence for nature. Quote the following story, 
given by Dr Bushell : — "When Lord Macartney came to the court of 
the same Emperor . . . bringing with him several pictures from 
George IIL, the Mandarins in waiting were again shocked by the 
shadows, and they asked gravely if the originals of the portraits really 
had one side of their face darker than the other : the shaded nose 
was a great defect to their eyes, and some of them believed that it 
had come there accidentally." How have Chinese and Japanese 
art influenced English art? (Whistler's paintings, willow pattern 
plates, etc.). 

Part II. — Material for Advanced Lessons only 

Early Civilization and General Characteristics 
of Chinese Art — Asiatic civilization reached its highest 
development in China, the classic land of the East. The 
history of the country begins about the year 2500 B.C., 
and the first legendary emperor, Fu-Hsi, is believed by 
the Chinese to have reigned during the years 2852- 
2738 B.C. Many traces of this early civilization must lie 
buried near the Yellow and the Wei rivers, where the 
earliest settlements existed, but the Chinese are distrust- 
ful of excavations, and such early bronzes and carvings as 
have been brought to light have been found during the 



construction of canals or owing to the changes effected 
by alterations in the rivers' course. 

The civilization of China and that of the countries that 
surrounded it acted and reacted upon each other, and the 
influence of Babylonia, Persia, India, and Greece is clearly 
discernible in Chinese art. In the year 200 B.C. the 
Chinese opened trade routes, and communication was 
established with Western Asia and afterwards with Rome. 
After the conquests of Alexander, who died in Babylon 
in 323 B.C., the traditions of Greek art were spread far 
and wide. Far away from their native shores, Greek 
artists demonstrated their beliefs, and in many places in 
the East, Greek art took root, and flourished in modified 
forms for hundreds of years. China did not escape this 
influence, which gained its chief hold in the country from 
about the years 600-650 A.D., but which weakened some 
fifty years later and died away. The influence of India 
followed the adoption of Buddhism, although it did not 
make itself felt with any great force until the third or 
fourth century A.D. Indian art has always been secondary 
in importance to the national literature and philosophy. 
Its painting, sculpture, and architecture in their highest 
developments have always shown themselves to be more 
dependent upon outside influences than upon native 
tradition, and it was Buddhist art stamped with Greek 
influence that the country passed on to China. An 
example of the manner in which these Eastern civilizations 
met is furnished by Dr Stein. He tells how in exploring 
some ruined cities in Khotan, a region in Chinese 
Turkestan, he found police notices which were written in 
Chinese, in a form of Sanskrit (Indian) lettering, and 
sealed with a Greek seal. These cities were abandoned 
in the eighth century, and have been buried in the sand 
until their excavation a few years ago. 


In spite of the outside influences that have in this 
way left their stamp on Chinese art, it remained 
from the first an original art, which transfused foreign 
ideas with the fire and strength of its own genius. 
In character it was pictorial rather than plastic, and 
for this reason it is painting rather than architecture or 
sculpture which is the highest expression of the national 

It is only in recent years that the importance of 
Chinese art has been realized in Europe. The Chinese 
have made no effort to establish its fame among 
Europeans, being profoundly indifferent to their opinion, 
and we owe most of the knowledge that we possess to 
the researches of travellers and collectors, and in par- 
ticular to the Japanese, whose publications on Eastern art 
have found widespread appreciation in Europe. 

Religion — Although in the earliest times the Chinese 
seemed to have believed in a simple monotheism, their 
religion soon changed. Ancestor-worship was introduced, 
and in later days we find three separate beliefs controlling 
the thought of the people, and leaving a deep impression 
upon their art. They are as follows : 

I. The Doctrine of Confucius — Confucius was born 
in China about the year 550 B.C. and died in 478 B.C. 
His theory of life was one of advanced socialism. Social 
harmony was the end for which he strove, and his preach- 
ing urged every man to sink his individuality and work 
for common ends. He believed greatly in art as a popular 
teacher, and directed the artists' energies to the glorifica- 
tion of the state by means of historical paintings and 
sculptured portraits of famous men, whose deeds all 
should emulate. In this way art produced under the 
influence of Confucianism was of a secular character, re- 
flecting social ideals which were in complete opposition to 


those advocated by the second great leader of Chinese 
thought, Lao Tzu. 

2. The Doctrine of Lao Tzu — Lao Tzu, a Chinese 
mystic, was born in the year 580 B.C. and died in 530 B.C. 
He advocated an individualistic philosophy and a life of 
contemplation and communion with nature. By these 
means only could human individuality be realized and 
developed. His followers revolted from outside control 
and authority, and preferred the freedom of an undis- 
turbed life with nature. This creed, full of mysticism and 
imagination, appealed with force to the Chinese tempera- 
ment, and had a profound influence on painting and 
literature. The terms Laoism and Taoism have been 
given to the doctrines of Lao Tzu, but in the latter cult 
the mystical beliefs were so lost in superstition and 
magical rites, that it could be called, more truthfully, a 
separate belief. 

3. The Doctrines of Buddha— Sakyamuni, the 
Buddha, or Enlightened One, was an Indian prince, who 
was born in the sixth century B.C. He gave up his 
worldly possessions and lived the life of an ascetic, only 
to find that the cause of all evil was due to the individual 
will to live. After his death his doctrines were joyfully 
accepted by the people, who found in Buddhism an in- 
spiring and mystical faith. The new belief spread rapidly, 
but it was not until the year 65 A.D. that the Chinese 
Emperor sent a mission of eighteen men to India to inquire 
into its doctrines. The envoys returned, bringing with 
them two Indian monks and Buddhist writings and images. 
A Buddhist temple was built at Lo Yang, the Chinese 
capital at that time, and the new religion had soon taken 
a firm hold. There was much in the teaching of Lao Tzu 
which was also common to Buddhism, and this may have 
helped to cause the ready acceptance of the new creed. 


The Zen doctrine of contemplation, which was one 
branch of Buddhist thought, preached the same spirit of 
communion with nature and the losing of human in- 
dividuality in the vast and spiritual realm of the universe. 
The new religion taught that the life of the world was of 
no value, and that all that mattered was the achievement 
of the after-life when in Nirvana the soul should be one 
with eternity. These Buddhist beliefs, when fully accepted 
and realized, coloured the whole subsequent art of China, 
and became its chief inspiration, having the same relation 
to it that Christianity had to Western art at the time of 
the Middle Ages. 

Dr Bushell gives the following outline of the five 
favourite representations of Sakyamuni, the historical 
Buddha 1 : — 

1. His birth. An infant standing erect upon a lotus- 
thalamus, pointing upward to heaven. 

2. Sakya returning from the mountains. Of ascetic 
aspect, with beard and shaven poll, attired in flowing 
garments and holding his hands in a position of prayer. 
The ear lobes are enlarged as a sign of wisdom, and the 
brow bears the urna, a luminous mark that distinguishes 
a Buddha or a Bodhisattva. 

3. The all-wise Sakya. A Buddha seated cross-legged 
upon a lotus throne . . . the right hand generally raised 
in the mystic preaching pose. 

4. The Nirvana. A recumbent figure upon a raised 
bench, with the head pillowed upon a lotus. 

5. In the Sakyamuni Trinit}'. Either erect, or seated 
in the attitude of pra}^er, with the alms bowl in his 
hands, between his spiritual sons, the Bodhisattvas 
Manjusri and Samantabhadra, the three forming a 
mystic triad. 

^ Handbook of Chinese Art. South Kensington Museum. 


The following religious and symbolic subjects are 
common in Chinese art : — 

Bodhisattva — A Bodhisattva was a sacred being 
destined to become a Buddha. A Bodhisattva, in the 
spiritual bod}% could be represented in art in any form. 

Kwan-yin or Kwannon — The Buddhist goddess of 
mercy and loving-kindness, often represented with a child. 
She is also known as the Mother of Waters, the pro- 
tectress of all travelling by sea. The place she takes in 
the East is somewhat similar to that given to the Virgin 
in the West, without of course the divine connection. It 
was only about the twelfth century A.D. that the idea of 
the Kwan-}-in took a female form. She is generally 
represented as a seated figure, often lost in meditation. 

Arhats — The Arhats, or eighteen immediate disciples 
of Buddha, are called Lohans by the Chinese and 
Rakans by the Japanese. They are favourite subjects in 
Chinese and Japanese art, and are usually represented as 
solitary figures, lost in contemplation, haunting wild and 
desolate regions, and guarded by a Hon, tiger, or some 
other protective emblem. An Arhat is conceived as a 
figure representative of moral and intellectual power and 

Demonic Figures — Demonic figures in Buddhist 
art are generally representati\-e of the guardians of the 
material universe of Buddha. 

Rishi — The Rishi, or wizards of the mountains, are 
figures of Taoist legend, and although somewhat similar 
in conception to the Buddhist Arhats, are of a gayer and 
more fantastic character. They are human beings who 
have withdrawn completely from the world, given up all 
forms of sustenance, except those of fruits and dew, and 
who have attained immortality and an ethereal existence 
by means of certain mystic rites. They are generally 


represented with some emblem such as a stork, plum, 
pine, tortoise, or bamboo, and are often carried on the 
backs of storks or are mounted on some curious and 
imaginary beast. 

The Dragon and the Tiger — The dragon is one of 
the most familiar symbols in Chinese art. It represents 
the power of the spirit, of infinity, and of aspiration and 
change. The tiger, on the other hand, is symbolic of 
material and temporal power, and it is only when it is 
painted in natural colours, instead of ink, that it re- 
presents the actual animal. In the words of Mr 
Santiyama, " In their (the Chinese) tiger and dragon 
pictures they portray the ceaseless conflict of the material 
forces with the infinite, the tiger roaring his incessant 
challenge to the unknown terror of the spirit." 

Chinese Dynasties — The reigns of the Chinese 
Emperors have been grouped together into dynasties, 
which also have given their names to the great art 
periods. The following are the most important : — 

Early Periods to 618 a.d. 

1. Shang Dynasty (B.C. 1766-1 122)— There is 

little historic record left of this dynasty, which was an 
age of advancement and of growth in art. Early pottery 
was made at this time and also bronzes, while the first 
definite mention of portraiture dates from this dynasty. 

2. Chow (or Chou) Dynasty (B.C. 1122-255) — 
Bronzes still the chief form of artistic industry. Many 
fine specimens date from this period. 

3. Han Dynasty (B.C. 206-A.D. 221) — The first 
great period of Chinese culture. Trade routes estab- 
lished. Influence of Lao Tzu. Great age in literature. 
C. B.C. lOO-A.D. 50. — Period of Graeco-Bactrian influence 


on art. Porcelain probably invented during this dynasty. 
Growth of pictorial art. 

4. T'ang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907) — Under the 
T'ang dynasty the Empire was at the height of its 
prosperity and its dominions reached their utmost limit. 
China was in close touch with India ; Buddhism was 
firmly established, and the greatness of the period was 
reflected in the art, which was full of power, dignit)' and 
nobility. Landscape painting was divided into two 
schools, that of the North and the South. The former 
was noted for a vigorous realism, in character with the 
grandeur and wildness of northern scenery : the latter was 
distinguished by a more romantic style, in harmony with 
the more picturesque landscape of the South, and was 
marked by a greater disdain of fact. During the second 
half of the dynasty painting took definite rank before 
sculpture as the more important art. The culmination 
of the T'ang period was reached under the reign of the 
Emperor Genso at Singanfu (713-755 A.D.). Mr Binyon 
has called him the Lorenzo de' Medici of China, for he 
was as great and discriminating a patron of the arts as 
was the great Italian of the Renaissance. Under the 
rule of Genso, the Chinese court became even a greater 
and more famous centre of culture than were the courts 
of the Caliphs of Damascus and Baghdad, surpassing 
them in splendour and magnificence. 

5. Sung Dynasty (A.D. 960-1280) — During this 
dynasty the Empire, which had been previously broken 
up by wars, was again united, although diminished in 
extent. It was a splendid age of freedom, second 
only to the Tang dynasty for the beauty of its art and 
literature. The painters of the day were dominated by the 
Zen theory of contemplation, and the exquisite delicacy 
of the flower paintings has never been equalled. Their 


colouring was unsurpassed, and although their paintings 
had not the same force as those of the T'ang dynasty, they 
were more lyric in character. The height of Sung genius 
was reached during the years 1195-1224. Two years later 
Northern China was taken by Chengis Khan, the Mongol, 
and in 1264 Kublai Khan, his descendant (made famous 
by Coleridge), established his capital at Pekin. The Sung 
capital of Hang-Chow, although under Mongol rule, retained 
its Chinese characteristics and culture, and in the journal 
of Marco Polo, the Venetian, we are able to read a vivid 
description of the times. With the end of the Sung 
dynasty the first signs of the decay of Chinese genius 
were apparent. 

6. Yuan (or Mongol) Dynasty (A.D. 1280- 
1368) — This dynasty was established by Kublai Khan. 
It continued the Sung traditions, which were encouraged 
by the Mongol rulers, who were intelligent patrons of 
Chinese art. Fine works of art were produced, although 
the level of artistic production was considerably lowered. 

7. Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1368- 1644) — The Mongols 
were expelled in 1368, and under the first Ming Emperor 
Chinese rule was again established. Although the period 
opened with magnificence, the glories of the Sung dynasty 
had faded, and art began to show signs of over-elaboration 
and love of ornament. There was a change of mood, and 
mystical subjects became less popular than scenes of 
court life. The ink sketch was succeeded by a love ot 
rich colour, and genre painting was introduced. At the 
same time, although much fine work was done, the con- 
servatism of the Chinese began to tell upon an art that 
was losing the inspiration of former beliefs, and traditional 
methods began to take a somewhat stereotyped form. In 
1644, when the Empire was weakened and in danger, it 
called the Manchus, or tribes of wild herdsmen, to its aid. 


They had long raided the Chinese frontiers, and having 
made an entry in this way they came to stay, soon 
conquering the Chinese, and forcing them to wear a 
pigtail as a sign of submission. The Ching or Manchu 
dynasty, which succeeded the Ming dynasty, lasted until 
191 2, and has witnessed the steady decline of Chinese 
artistic power. 

Chinese Painting — The origin of Chinese painting is 
ascribed by legend to the year 2700 B.C., while in the 
year 1326 B.C., a definite mention of portraiture is made. 
There is very little record of art, however, until the second 
and third century B.C., when more frequent mention is 
made of it, and when the hair-brush was invented. In the 
second century A.D. the names of individual painters 
begin to appear, and during the third century the artist 
Hsieh Ho formulated a criticism of painting in six 

The earliest painting known to exist (although there 
may be others of equal, or greater, age, hidden away in 
Eastern collections) is that in the British Museum by 
Ku-kai-chi, who lived in the fourth century A.D. This 
wonderful and mature painting alone is enough to prove 
that the art was at the time no new growth. From 
the beginning painting was closely associated with 
caligraphy, or hand-writing, which was also considered a 
fine art, requiring the utmost skill and individuality on 
the part of the writer. It was this training that helped to 
develop the painters' feeling for virile line, which is such 
a fine characteristic of their best work. " The spirit lies 
in the point of the brush " is one of the old Chinese 

Early paintings were largely executed in ink, in 
monochrome, and were associated in design with the hand- 
writing that described them. During the last dynasties 


the use of colour became popular, particularly in pictures 
relating to the Buddhist religion, which were coloured 
until they glowed with the richest of Eastern tints. Before 
the first century A.D. paper was the favourite material for 
pictures, and wooden panels were also used. We read, 
too, of great frescoes decorating the walls of the palaces 
and public buildings, all of which, alas, have since dis- 
appeared. Silk, however, soon grew to be the favourite 
material, and, as a medium, served to develop direct and 
delicate methods of painting. 

Chinese paintings are generally in the form of Kake- 
monos or hanging pictures, with a wooden roller at the top 
and bottom, to make them fall flatly, or else Makimonos 
or scrolls, often of great length. A Chinese artist followed 
traditional methods of painting and preferred for his 
subjects those which had been hallowed for centuries by 
literature and established custom. It never occurred to 
him to attempt an exact imitation of nature. His art 
was above all suggestive, and his highest aspiration was 
the hope of expressing infinity. It was soaked in the 
atmosphere of his religion, and reflected his national 
poetry. Painters were frequently literary men also by 
profession, and the old Chinese saying, " a picture is a 
voiceless poem," reflects the Chinese ideal. A picture 
was most prized when it suggested a poetic idea in this 
way, and breathed forth some lofty sentiment. Buddhist 
precepts led to an intense and reverent love of nature, as 
opposed to the Western ideal of the glory of man. The 
Chinese lacked that scientific curiosity and passion for 
knowledge which stamped the Europe of the Renaissance, 
and their self-imposed limitations and artistic conventions, 
which despised all efforts of chiaroscuro and realistic 
modelling, were perfectly adapted to the lyric temper of 
their art, and served to add to its greatness. On the 


other hand, there are Western achievements which the 
Chinese iiave never equalled, but it is of little use to 
weigh the art of the East with that of the West, and 
wiser to accept them both as splendid expressions of 
differing ideals. 

The Chinese, largely by reason of their religious beliefs, 
excelled as painters of landscape and flowers, and hundreds 
of years before Western races had reached an appreciation 
of their beauties, the Chinese had established schools of 
landscape painting in different parts of the country. But, 
in the words of Mr Laurence Binyon : 

" It is something deeper than innocent delight, which 
forms these schools of painting, . . . we do not feel that the 
artist is portraying something external to himself, that 
he is caressing the happiness and soothing joy offered 
him in the pleasant places of the earth, or ever studying 
with wonder and delight the miraculous works of nature. 
But the words of the air have become his desires, and the 
clouds his wandering thoughts ; the mountain peaks are 
his lonely aspirations, and the torrents his liberated 
energies. Flowers opening their secret hearts to the light 
and trembling to the breeze's touch seem to be unfolding 
the mystery of his own human heart, the mystery of those 
intuitions and emotions, which are too deep and too shy 
for speech. ... It is not the man's earthly surroundings, 
tamed to his desires, that inspires the artist ; but the 
universe in its wholeness and its freedom has become his 
spiritual home." ^ 

The joy of a Chinese artist in his art is well expressed by 
an artist of the fifth century : " To gaze upon the clouds of 
autumn, a soaring exultation of the soul ; to feel the spring 
breeze stirring wild exultant thoughts ; what is there in the 
possession of gold and gems to compare with delights like 

^ The Flight of the Dragon. L. Binyon. Murray. 


■- a 

- ^ 

< 9 


these ? and then to unroll the portfolio and spread the silk, 
and to transfer to it the glories of flood and fell, the green 
forest, the blowing winds, the white water of the rushing 
cascade, as with a turn of the hand a divine influence de- 
scends upon the scene. . . . These are the joys of painting." 

There are many old poems that illustrate the people's 
feeling for nature. One recounts how a poor pilgrim, 
passing along a road shaded by blossoming trees, stopped 
the ringing of his bell, in fear lest the vibration should 
cause a single petal to fall. Another tells that a poor 
girl on going to draw water from a well, found that in the 
night a convolvulus had twined itself round the well rope 
and bucket. Rather than tear or displace such beauty, 
she left the plant undisturbed, and drew her water from 
some other source. Mr Binyon also quotes a very 
beautiful old Chinese poem, of the Sung period, as an 
example of the same reverence. It runs as follows : " It 
is midnight ; all is silent in the house ; the water clock 
has stopped. But I am unable to sleep, because of the 
beauty of the trembling shapes of the spring flowers, 
thrown by the moon upon the blind." As an example of 
the value the Chinese placed upon suggestiveness in 
a picture, the following story may also be quoted. A 
certain Emperor of the Sung dynasty, himself a painter, 
started an academy of arts, and set a competition for his 
new students. The prize was to be awarded to the 
painter who best could illustrate a poem containing the 
line, " the hoof of his steed comes back, heavily charged 
with the scent of the trampled flowers," The painter who 
won the prize was he who painted butterflies, clustering 
and floating round the horse's heels. 

Sculpture— Although the Chinese had the plastic 
sense less strongly developed than the pictorial, they 
produced some very fine sculpture, particularly such figures 


as were executed for Buddhist temples. Many bas-reliefs 
and engraved stone stelai were executed durin;.^ the Han 
dynasty, and we know, from the account of an early 
pilgrim, that in the sixth century a.d. Chinese sculpture 
was of a distinct national type. There is no doubt that 
early figures betray a strong Indian element, and Greek 
influence is clearly discernible in some of the finest 
statues. During the T'ang dynasty, colossal stone 
Buddhas were produced, while dating from a later period 
we have the great stone figures that guard the approaches 
to the Ming tombs near Pekin. These are some of the 
most famous sculptures in China, although they are in- 
finitely less great than some of the more inaccessible 
statues that are hidden away in the temples. These 
latter statues, which most frequently represent the Buddha 
or the Goddess of Mercy, are often of great beauty and 
dignity, and are marked by an expression of calm and 
gentle inscrutability. After the middle of the fifteenth 
century a love of profuse ornament put an end to the 
production of the finest sculpture. The Chinese were 
extremely fond of carving smaller objects in hard sub- 
stances, such as jade, rock crystal, hard wood, and horn. 
These objects are generally grotesque in character, and 
are exquisite in workmanship and design. 

Architecture— The Chinese have never been great as 
architects. A certain quality of picturesqueness and lack 
of restraint has hindered their work from reachincf a high 
level. There are no buildings left standing that date 
from before the eleventh century A.D., and the fact that 
buildings are made from light and perishable materials no 
doubt accounts for the scarcity of ruins. It has been 
suggested by M. Paleologue that the reason for this 
preference for light materials is to be found in the Chinese 
indifference to earthly posterity. Early records prove that 


contemporary Chinese architecture is still the same in 
essentials as that of the fourth and fifth centuries B.C. 
The most common form in building is the Ting, which 
consists of a large and massive roof supported by a number 
of wooden columns. The walls are formed by filling in 
the space between the columns with stone and brick. The 
roof, which is always the most important part of a Chinese 
building, is often a double or a triple one, with elaborately 
carved ridges and eaves, and is often covered with gay 
tiles. Another favourite architectural form is that of the 
Pail-Ion, an elaborate stone or wooden archway, generally 
built with a tiled roof, and erected only by official con- 
sent in commemoration of some famous person. A third 
typical Chinese building is the T'ai or stone tower, also 
known as pagoda. It is an octagonal structure with thir- 
teen stories, and probably owes its proportions to the same 
symbolic idea that suggested the Gothic spire, although 
in this instance the symbolism would refer to the Buddhist 
creed. The great wall is one of the most famous examples 
of Chinese building. It marks the boundaries of four 
northern provinces, and following the windings, is 1500 
miles in length. It was begun in the third century B.C., 
repaired in the fifteenth century A.D., and was extended 
some 300 miles in the sixteenth century. It generally 
measures from 20 to 30 feet in height, and its towers, 
which come at intervals of about 200 yards, are some 40 
feet high. It measures 15 to 25 feet in breadth at its 

Bronzes — Bronzes are the oldest form of Chinese art. 
Vessels of this material were made for the service of pre- 
historic religions, and the same shapes are produced to this 
day. The oldest existing specimens were taken at the 
sack of the Summer Palace at Pekin, and date from the 
Shang and Chow dynasties. The art reached its climax 


about the year 500 B.C., but from the beginning, fine 
specimens attained, to quote Dr Bushell, " a certain savage, 
monumental grandeur." 

Porcelain and Pottery — Porcelain was invented in 
China, as is testified by the term by which it is generally 
described. The manufacture was probably first introduced 
during the Han dynasty and soon became famous, being 
exported in later years to both Eastern and Western 
markets. Chinese porcelain of the best periods is the 
highest achievement of ceramic art, and beside the supreme 
beauty of its design and colour the porcelain of other 
countries can only take a second place. Chinese pottery 
is hardly less famous than the porcelain. Some of the 
finest specimens represent splendidly modelled figures 
of gods, men, and animals, and these, in their way, are 
also unequalled. The earliest examples of Chinese pottery, 
which date from the time of the early bronzes, are strongly 
reminiscent of the latter in form and design. Pottery 
was frequently used in China as a form of architectural 

Japanese Art — Japanese art, which until recently has 
been more generally known and appreciated in Europe 
than Chinese art, is largely due to the Chinese genius. 
The Japanese had much original artistic power of their 
own, but it was probably not until 552 A.D,, when 
Buddhism reached the island shores, incorporated in 
Chinese forms of art, that Japanese primitive art began. 
Thus from the beginning, the genius of these island 
people took colour and form from the great art of 
their neighbours, and until the present day the art of 
China has been the chief inspiration of that of Japan. 
There is no space here in which to give any description 
or classification of the great art of Japan, and all 
who want particulars, or who wish to give a second 


lesson on it alone, should refer to the pages of Mr 
Binyon and Professor Fenollosa. 


Description of the Imperial palace of Kublai Khan 
(written about the year 1275 A.D. by Marco Polo, the 

"You must know that for three months of the year the Great Kaan 
resides in the capital city of Cathay. ... In that city stands his great 
palace and now I will tell you what it is like. 

" It is enclosed all round by a great wall forming a square, each 
side of which is a mile in length ... it is also very thick and a good 
ten paces in height, whitewashed and loopholed all round. . . . Inside 
this wall there is a second. ... In the middle of this enclosure is the 
Lord's Great Palace, and I will tell you what it is like. 

" You must know that it is the greatest Palace that ever was. The 
palace itself has no upper story but is all on the ground floor. . . . the 
roof is very lofty and the walls of the Palace are all covered with gold 
and silver. They are also adorned with representations of dragons 
(sculptured and gilt), beasts and birds, knights and idols and sundry 
other subjects, and on the ceiling too you see nothing but gold and 
silver and painting. On each of these four sides there is a great 
marble staircase leading to the top of the marble wall and forming 
the approach to the palace. 

"The hall of the palace is so large that it could easily dine 6000 
people ; and it is quite a marvel to see how many rooms there are besides. 
The building is altogether so vast and so rich and so beautiful that no 
man on earth could design anything superior to it. The outside of 
the roof also is covered with vermilion and yellow and green and blue 
and other hues, which are fixed with a varnish so fine and exquisite 
that they shine like chrystal, and lend a resplendent lustre to the 
palace, as seen for a great way round. The roof is made too with so 
much strength that it is fit to last for ever. 

" Between the two walls of the enclosure which I have described 
there are fine parks and beautiful trees bearing a variety of fruit. 

^ The Book oj Marco Polo, the Venetian, translated by Sir H. Yule. 



There are beasts also of sundry kinds, such as white stags and fallow 
deer, gazelles and roebucks and fine squirrels of various sorts, with 
numbers also of that animal that gives the musk, and all manner of 
other beautiful creatures, insomuch that the whole place is full of 
them . . . and the Great Kaan has caused this beautiful prospect to 
be formed for the comfort and solace and delectation of his heart." 


(also known as mycen.ean art) 

Part I. — Elementary Lesson in Story Form 

There is no story that will interest children more readily in ^Egean art than 
the old Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. It is true that there is 
nothing about art in it, but if told brief!}', and the stress laid on the subsequent 
history of the excavations at Knossos, the artistic element will be amply 
supplied. As the story has been told, once and for all, by Charles Kingsley in 
The Heroes, it will not be repeated here. The book is, or should be, in every 
school-room or school library, or can be purchased for 6d. from Messrs Gowan 
& Gray of Glasgow, The following is an outline of the form the lesson 
should take. 

INTRODUCTION— Thousands of years ago, when Queen Hat- 
shepsut was reigning in Egypt, and sending her ships to the land 
of Punt in search of spices and ostrich feathers and myrrh trees, 
another race of people was living on the shores and islands of the 
yEgean Sea. This is an old story that tells about some of them ; 
nobody knows how much of it is true. 

1. Theseus and the sword. The journey to his father's court. 

2. The journey to Crete, the island of King Minos. 

3. Theseus defies King Minos and is imprisoned. 

4. Theseus, freed by Ariadne, kills the Minotaur, and the joyful 

return to Greece. 

5. The Excavations — Thousands of years passed. 
Still fathers told to their children the story of Theseus and 
the Minotaur. People began to wonder if any of it was 
true ; if there had been a King Minos, who kept a great 



bull, and if Theseus and Ariadne had ever really lived, and 
if a great palace had existed on the island of Crete. If 
there were such civilized people living then, thousands of 
years ago, had they invented a system of writing as the 
Egyptians and Babylonians had done ? One day Sir 
Arthur Evans, an English archeologist, was working in 
the museum at Athens. This was his discovery, told in 
his own words : 

" While hunting out ancient engraved stones at Athens, 
I came upon some three and four sided seals, showing on 
each of their faces, groups of hieroglyphic and linear signs, 
distinct from the Egyptian and Hittite, but evidently 
representing some form of script. On enquiry I learnt 
that these seals had been found in Crete. A clue was in 
my hands, and, like Theseus, I resolved to follow it, if 
possible, to the inmost recesses of the Labyrinth." 

Sir Arthur Evans then went to Crete, and from 1894 
onwards explored the island, and made a series of excava- 
tions. About four miles from Candia, the chief town, 
there is a beautiful valley and sloping hill-side, and on 
this hill-side several great blocks of stone could be seen 
half buried in the ground. People had noticed these 
stones before, but the owners of the land did not want to 
sell it, and the people of the island were also at war with 
the Turks, and had no time to help foreigners and make 
it easy for them to start their excavations. At last, how- 
ever, Crete was at rest again : the war was over, and in 
1895 Sir Arthur Evans was able to buy part of the land 
in which the grey stones lay buried. Nearly a hundred 
men were engaged to dig and were set to work on the 
green hill-side. What did they find ? Was there nothing 
hidden there after all ? Were there only a few .stones, or 
was there something more ? There was treasure untold ! 
A vast palace was laid bare. Its roof and most of its 






.^^g]fa f 

^^^ '* 'nH^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^I 




fcr;-'^^. v; ™«^^ ' 




high walls had long since crumbled away, but its founda- 
tions were there. Room after room was opened up ; 
many were decorated with frescoes, hidden in some 
instances only a few inches below the surface of the 
earth. Others contained long rows of gteat stone jars, 
for wheat and other necessities. Under the floor of one 
of these magazines a row of smaller stone jars was found, 
lined with lead, and carefully hidden as a storage for 
treasure. Another room was ob\'iously a bath-room, and 
contained two perfectly preserved and beautifully moulded 
terra-cotta baths, one being quite small, and evidently 
made for a little child. " Walls were shortly uncovered, 
decorated with flowering plants and running water, while 
on each side of the door- way of a small inner room stood 
guardian griffins with peacocks' plumes, in the same 
flowery landscape. Round the walls ran low stone 
benches, and between those on the north side, separated 
by a small interval, and raised on a stone base, rose a 
gypsum throne with a high back and originally covered 
with decorated designs. . . . Here truly was the council 
chamber of a Mycenaean King or Sovereign Lady." 

In other rooms numbers of tablets were found, in- 
scribed in an unknown script, the writing that had been 
the object of Sir Arthur Evans' search, and which no one 
yet has learnt to read. In the portico of the entrance to 
the great court there were the remains of a big fresco of 
a man fighting a bull, and by the northern gate the half- 
crumbled relief of a second great bull was found. One 
day a splendid fresco of a youth carrying a great cup was 
laid bare (see Plate XII.). " The colours were almost as 
brilliant as when first laid down over 3000 years ago," wrote 
Sir Arthur Evans. " For the first time the true portraiture 
of a man of this mysterious Mycenaean race rises before 
us. The flesh tint, following perhaps the Egyptian 


precedent, is of a deep reddish brown. The liinbs are 
finely moulded, though the waist, as usual in Mycenaean 
fashion, is tightly drawn in by a silver-mounted girdle, 
giving great relief to the hips. The profile of the face is 
pure and almost classically Greek. . . , There was some- 
thing very impressive in this vision of brilliant youth, and 
of male beauty, recalled after so long an interval to our 
upper air, from what had been till yesterday a forgotten 
world. Even our untutored Cretan v.^orkmen felt the 
spell and fascination. They indeed regarded the discovery 
of such a painting in the bosom of the earth as nothing 
less than miraculous, and saw in it the ikon of a Saint ! " 
The whole story of the excavations is indeed a marvel- 
lous one. They revealed an advanced civilization, cut off 
in its bloom, for traces of burning on every hand, and 
charred wooden beams and pillars, proved that this great 
palace, covering nearly six acres, had been destroyed 
with violence, and its site left desolate. " For three 
thousand years or more not a tree had been planted there ; 
over a part of the area not even a ploughshare had been 
passed." The story of Theseus was to a great extent 
proved. The famous king of the dynasty of Minos had 
indeed lived in his palace at Knossos, and ruled over vast 
dominions. If so much of the storv is true we can 
no doubt believe also that his daughter lived with him, 
and danced in the chores, or dancing ground, " wTought 
in broad Knossos for fair-haired Ariadne" (Homer). 
She may even be represented in one of the frescoes, 
showing the ladies of the court, and the dancing girls. 
Theseus too can be imagined as a valiant young 
Mycenaean, fighting perhaps with a great and savage bull, 
kept in the palace by command of the King. The old 
frescoes prove to us that bull-fighting was constantly 
practised in those days, and the various representations 


of bulls found at Knossos point to the fact that they were 
kept there. Perhaps there was a savage bull which was 
so much dreaded that in time a legend grew up as to its 
terrible appearance and human head. On the ancient 
gems of this period, figures of a bull, half human, half 
animal, are sometimes engraved. Sir Arthur Evans 
himself says that " the legend of Athenian persons 
devoured by the Minotaur preserves a real tradition of 
these cruel sports." The palace contained such numbers 
of small rooms and winding passages, that no wonder it 
was considered a maze or lab\'rinth. We can imagine 
Greek settlers in the island after the fall of the palace, 
wandering in and out of the desolate rooms, half ruined 
and burnt, haunted by owls and bats. We can imagine 
them scanning the frescoes now barely visible, then perhaps 
in their freshness, showing the youthful figures of Theseus 
and Ariadne, and the great fight with the bull. We can 
hear the story passing from lip to lip, until now, in our 
own day, the triumphs of archeology have proved it to be 
not only possible, but to a large extent probable. In the 
words of Donne : — 

Thou art so true that thoughts of thee suffice 
To make dreams true, and fables histories. 

Notes on the Story — For further details, see Part. II. of this Lesson. 
The quotations are taken from Sir Arthur Evans' account of his dis- 
coveries published in The EnglisJi Review^ 1901, vol. 2, Murray. 

As an additional, or alternative, story illustrative of itgean art, a 
story from the Iliad could be taken, leading up to illustrations of the 
excavations at Mycenae and Hissarlik (Troy), and of the objects of art 
found there. 

Part II. — Material for Advanced Lessons only 

iEgean Civilization — The pre-Hellenic civilization 
which flourished on the shores and islands of the yEgean 


during the first, second, and third millennia before Christ, 
had three chief centres— the island of Crete, the towns of 
Mycenae and Tiryns, on the Greek mainland, and Troy, 
on the north-west promontory of Asia Minor. Recent 
archeological research has proved that the earliest seat of 
this civilization was in Crete and the more southerly 
islands of the ^gean, and from there spread to the main- 
land, and even to distant parts of the Mediterranean. 
The knowledge of the use of bronze reached Crete about 
the year 3000 B.C., and put an end to the Neolithic or Late 
Stone Age civilization that had preceded it. From this 
date JEgean culture developed rapidly, until it came to an 
abrupt end about the year looo B.C., probably owing to 
the Dorian invasions. It was essentially the civilization 
of a seafaring people. The JEgeans were famous as 
traders, and their fleets touched far distant shores. A 
Chinese axehead of white jadite, found in the second city 
of Troy, has been dated as prior to 2000 B.C., and, accord- 
ing to Sir Arthur Evans, a bowl found at Knossos was 
made in Egypt at the beginning of the Fourth Dynasty 
or Pyramid Age (c. 2800 B.C.) ; in pre-Mycenaean island 
graves, objects in ivory and pieces of glass have been 
found which could only have come from Egypt. After 
the year 1 600 B.C. intercourse with Egypt became very 
close. In the tomb of Senmut, the architect of Queen 
Hatshepsut, at Thebes (see Lesson III.), a fresco has been 
found which shows men of a foreign nation bearing an 
offering of great vases, and by the figures the words, 
" Princes of the Isles in the midst of the Great Green 
Sea." One of them is designated as a "Prince of the Keftiu," 
the latter word being now generally identified with the sea 
Empire of Knossos. It is interesting to see that in this 
fresco one of the men bears a big vase, decorated with two 
bulls' heads. The Egyptian artist has also carefully 

tEGEAN art 121 

represented the typical narrow waists of the strangers, 
which are invariable characteristics of the Minoans. 

-^gean Archeology — The story of ^Egean archeology 
is a veritable fairy tale. Before the year 1870 the only 
proofs of the wonderful pre- Hellenic civilization described 
in the Homeric poems were some old walls, a gate, and a 
tomb at Mycence, and a few vases and other objects, 
scattered and neglected in various museums. These were 
all supposed to belong to Homeric times, or to early 
heroic beginnings of purely Hellenic civilization. The 
first man to disprove these vague theories was a German, 
Henry Schliemann. He was born in a small town in North 
Germany in the year 1822. As a child he was fascinated 
by old myths and stories, and firmly believed that in a 
pond behind his father's house a maiden was hidden, who 
arose from the waters each night, holding a silver bowl. 
His faith was also firm concerning the legend that vast 
treasures were hidden in the earth in a small hill near by 
his home, surrounded by a ditch. The excavations at 
Pompeii and Herculaneum were at that time arousing the 
interest of all, and had their share in exciting the boy's 
imagination, and a still further stimulus was given by the 
story of the Homeric poems, which his father repeated to 
him. The boy could not believe that the great fortifica- 
tions of Troy had disappeared, and, in spite of his father's 
assurance that no trace of them could be found, he felt 
convinced to the contrary, and replied, " Father, if such 
walls once existed, they cannot possibly have been 
destroyed ; vast ruins of them must still remain, but they 
are hidden beneath the dust of ages." From that moment 
the boy decided that he would excavate these walls before 
he died. 

Troubles fell upon the family, and, after only a short 
period at school, Henry Schliemann had to earn his living 


as a grocer's boy. One evening a drunken miller came to 
the shop, who apparently had some knowledge of Homer. 
Dr Schliemann has described the scene as follows : 
" That evening he recited to us about a hundred lines of 
the poet, observing the rhythmic cadence of the verses. . . . 
Although I did not understand a syllable, the melodious 
sounds of the words made a deep impression upon me, 
and I wept bitter tears over my unhappy fate. Three 
times over did I get him to repeat to^me those divine verses, 
rewarding his trouble with three glasses of whiskey, which 
I bought with the few pence that made up my whole 
wealth. From that moment I never ceased to pray to 
God that by His Grace I might yet have the happiness of 
learning Greek." After this time the boy's fortunes 
suffered many changes, but, owing to his great intelligence 
and capacity for learning languages, he rapidly bettered 
his position, and by the year 1863 he was his own 
master, with enough money to start on the realization. 
of his cherished schemes. For two or three years he 
travelled extensively, and then spent some years in Paris 
in the study of archeology. In 1868 he paid his first 
visit to Greece, and in 1871 the first sod was cut on the 
hill of Hissarlik, the spot which, contrary to generally 
held opinions, he had identified with the site of Troy. 

At first he suffered many disappointments, but nothing 
could shake his determination, and in 1873 the faith of a 
lifetime was rewarded by the first of his many discoveries, 
namely the laying bare of a great wall and gateway, and 
the discovery of a vast treasure. This consisted of 
numbers of gold and silver vessels and ornaments, includ- 
ing a diadem composed of more than 16,000 rings and 
leaves ; axes, daggers, and objects of every kind. From 
that day excavations were carried on steadily and were con- 
tinued after Dr Schliemann's death, in 1890, by his friend 


and helper, Dr Dorpfeld. In all, the remains of not one, 
but nine cities were laid bare, the first dating from the 
sub-Neolithic Age, and the ninth from Hellenic times. 
Each separate stratum revealed a different stage of 
civilization, and yielded different objects to prove its age. 
The second city (counting from the bottom stratum 
upwards) was charred and burnt, and showed many signs 
of war and siege. It was this " Burnt City," containing 
the treasure, that was at first identified by Dr Schliemann 
as Homeric Troy. In the meantime this indefatigable 
archeologist turned his attention to the Greek mainland. 
Again, in defiance of the current beliefs of scholars, Schlie- 
mann was determined that Pausanias, the ancient Greek 
traveller, was right in saying that the murdered King 
Agamemnon was buried with his kindred, not without the 
walls of Mvxena;, but within their shelter. He started 
digging, therefore, just within the walls and near the Lion 
Gate, and by great good luck shortly uncovered a circle of 
slabs of stone. Continuing his excavations, five rock- 
hewn shaft graves were discovered, containing skeletons of 
men, women, and children, and another horde of gold and 
silver vases and ornaments, arms, and objects of art, etc., 
which proved the graves to be those of wealthy princes, if 
not of the far-famed Agamemnon himself. 

Shortly after Dr Schliemann's death there was fresh 
evidence forthcoming, which proved conclusively that 
the sixth city at Troy was the fabled city of Homer. It 
was discovered to be two and a half times larger in area 
than the Burnt City, and to be surrounded by massive 
walls, which agreed more or less exactly with the 
Homeric description. The discoveries of archeology 
had now confirmed the main lines of the Homeric 
tradition. The home of the Atridae, the " Princes rich 
in gold," had been found at Mycenae and Tiryns on the 


mainland, while across the sea, Troy, the great and 
proud city which was conquered by the United Greeks, 
led by the princes of Mycenae, was excavated and 
identified. But a further problem remained unsolved. 
Who were the people who had lived in the second or Burnt 
City of Troy during the years 2500-2000 B.C.? What 
was this earlier and greater civilization, which at the time 
of Homer was but a memory ? Where was its mainspring 
and centre hidden ? Excavations at Tiryns and Vaphio 
on the Greek mainland bore fresh witness to the arts of 
these early people. At Mycenae a tomb had been 
excavated containing daggers with wonderfully inlaid 
blades, and at Tiryns a palace had been discovered 
decorated with wall paintings, one showing an acrobat or 
hunter, leaping over a galloping bull, a vivid fresco full 
of power and movement, unlike anything knovvm before. 
At Vaphio, near Sparta, two golden cups had been un- 
earthed, since famous as two of the greatest achievements 
of Mycenaean art. For many years the thoughts of 
archeologists had turned towards Crete. Schliemann 
himself in the early eighties had wished to excavate 
there, in the hope of discovering " the original home of 
Mycenaean civilization," but his plan was frustrated by 
various difficulties, and finally by internal disturbances. 
The great discovery was reserved for Sir Arthur Evans, 
and has been described in Part I. of this Lesson. 

JEgean Religion — The chief ^Egean divinity was 
the " Great Mother," the goddess who survived in 
Hellenic times as Rhea, the mother of the Gods, or as 
Hera, the wife of Zeus. This Great Mother was the 
nature goddess, symbolic of the productiveness of the 
earth, and with her as a secondary deity, Zeus, her son 
or spouse, seems to have been associated. The " Great 
Mother " is sometimes represented with doves, and some- 

^GEAN ART 125 

times with snakes, as symbols of her connection with the 
air and the earth. The bull, which was regarded as 
royal and sacred, was the chief of sacrificial animals, and 
was most commonly offered up to her : it was also 
frequently represented in religious ritual held in her 
honour. It seems probable that the Kings, like the 
Pharaohs of Egypt, were the high priests of ^gean 
religion, and superintended the rites of the sanctuary, 
contained in the palace buildings. In the earliest years 
rocks, pillars, trees and the double axe, symbolic of 
power, were held as objects of worship, and it was only 
during the later periods that the divine principle was 
given a human form. It seems probable that the dead 
were objects of some form of worship, and further, 
ornaments, weapons, and other objects were placed in the 
tombs to supply the needs of the next life. The tombs 
themselves were of two main types : shaft tombs, or 
chambers cut in the rock, such as the royal tombs at 
Mycense, or Beehive tombs, vaulted and domed struc- 
tures, such as the best preserved tomb outside the walls 
of Mycenae, which measures nearly 50 feet in diameter. 
In the earliest burials the bodies were laid in oblong 
graves lined with slabs, or more rarely in earthenware jars. 
iEgean Art. Chronological Outline and General 
Characteristics — The ^gean, or Mycenaean, civiliza- 
tion was developed from an earlier neolithic civilization, 
and was itself succeeded by the transitional period re- 
presented by the Homeric poems, which, according to 
the most probable view, depict in the main the age 
subsequent to the break-up of the Mycenaean civilization 
and previous to the so-called "Dorian invasion" (c. 1000 
B.C.). iEgean art had its first centre in Crete. The term 
Minoan, derived from Minos, has been given to the 
people, art, and civilization of this island, to differentiate 


them from those of the coasts and other islands of the 
^gean area. Minoan civilization has been divided by 
Sir Arthur Evans into three periods, each period being 
subdivided into three divisions representing the rise, 
culmination, and decline of its arts. The following is 
a chronological table based on that given by Mr and 
Mrs Hawes ^ : — 






■ — 73 


C _; 


' 1st E.M.P., Beginning of Bronze Age, Knossos. 

2800-26CX) B.C. 

2nd E.M.P., Second or " Burnt City," Hissarlik. Orna- 

2600-2400 B.C. ments and stone vases found in tombs at 

Mochlos in Eastern Crete. 

3rd E.M.P., Pottery deposits in different sites. 

2400-2200 B.C. 

' 1st M.M.P., Early palaces of Knossos and Pha^stos 

2200-2100 B.C. built. 

2nd M.M.P., First climax of Minoan civilization at Knos- 

2100-1900 B.C. SOS and Phaestos. \'ery good pottery de- 
posits. Good examples of lesser arts pro- 
duced on small islands near Crete. De- 
struction of earlier palace of Knossos. 

3rd M.M.P., Later palace at Knossos. First villa at 

1 900- 1 700 B.C. Aghia Triada. Town at Gournia. 

/ist L.M.P., Height of prosperity at Aghia Triada (ist 

1700-1500 B.C. palace}, Gournia, etc. Minoan art good and 
spontaneous. Many tine frescoes executed. 
Shaft graves, Mycenae. 

2nd L.M.P., Golden age in Crete. Later palace at Knos- 

1500- 1 4 50 B.C. SOS remodelled. Fall of country towns 

(so called Palace such as Gournia, etc. Growth of Myceni-e, 
Period) Tiryns, and other mainland capitals. 

3rd L.M.P., c. 1450. Fall of Knossos followed by partial 

1 450- 1 200 B.C. re-occupation. 

c. 1 3 50- 1 200. Steady decline in prosperity 
and art throughout Crete. Supremacy 
transferred to mainland capitals of Tiryns 
I and Mycenae. Sixth city, Troy. 

^ Crete, the Forerunner 0/ Greece. Harper. 

jj:gean art 127 

iEgean art preserved its originality until the end, in 
spite of the foreign influences introduced by trade. It is 
thought that many of the finest works of art found in the 
Greek mainland, such as the frescoes and sword blades 
and the Vaphio cups, are the work of Minoan artists, and 
even if this is not the case, there is no doubt that the 
chief artistic impulse of the ^gean spread from Crete, 
.^gean art is full of spontaneous vigour and movement. 
It is comparatively free from convention, and is very 
naturalistic in treatment, although, on the other hand, it 
fails to reach the dignity, strength, and noble impressive- 
ness of the art of Egypt. There is no evidence that the 
iEgeans ever tried to produce large sculptures in the 
round, or works of art of monumental character. Their 
choice lay rather in delicate reliefs, inlay and carvings. 
Their frescoes, when discovered, created a new epoch in 
the history of painting ; their faience and goldsmiths' work 
showed the same freedom and spontaneity, while their 
painted vases, decorated with sea creatures of every sort, 
are most beautiful, and clearly stamp the creators as sons 
of a sea power. One of the chief characteristics of the 
human figure, as represented in Minoan art, is the small 
wasp-like waist, evidently artificial in character. This 
fashion must have been a long-established custom, both 
for men and women, for it is always reflected in the 
sculptures, and the Egyptian artist has not failed to notice 
it when representing the guests from the Island in the 
Green Sea. The result, in the case of the women's 
figures, is that they look strangely modern, rather than 
beautiful. At the time of the golden age in Crete, the 
palace of Knossos was a veritable school of art. Large 
colonies of craftsmen lived within its walls, supplying not 
only the needs of the royal family, but also no doubt the 
demands of rich princes on the Greek mainland. After 


the overthrow of Knossos yEgean art declined. The 
Minoan traditions were carried out in decadent and 
imitative forms at the artistic centres of the mainland, 
until foreign invasion brought vEgean art to an abrupt 

Architecture — " The dwellers on the sea coast began 
to grow richer and live in a more settled manner ; and 
some of them, finding their wealth increase beyond their 
expectations, surrounded their towns with walls." ^ This 
is Thucydides' account of the building of the great walls 
of Mycenae, Tiryns, and other towns on the Greek main- 
land, by the princes that governed them. These walls 
are among the oldest examples of Mycenaean architecture 
still standing, and are often described as Cyclopean walls, 
a title given to them by the Greeks, who believed them 
to be the work of the Cyclopes, giants of antiquity. They 
are made of enormous blocks of stone, roughly hewn into 
irregular shapes, and sometimes measuring i8 or 20 feet 
in length. The walls are interrupted at intervals by 
massive square towers and big gates, the most famous 
of the latter being the " Lion Gate " at Mycenae. The 
walls, towers, and galleries of the acropolis of Tiryns are 
particularly fine, and enclose three successive terraces on 
the hill-side. Galleries and chambers are hollowed in 
the thickness of some of the walls, which also enclose the 
royal palace. No ^gean temples have been discovered, 
and it is believed that these were contained in the palaces, 
where the King or ruler held the office of high priest. 
The palaces in Crete were probably slight in structure, 
the walls being of wood, clay, and rubble, on a solid stone 
foundation, which no doubt accounts for the fact that in 
almost all instances only their foundations have been 
discovered. Wood was used in large quantities for 

^ Jowett's translation. Oxford University Press. 

^GEAN ART 129 

building. Columns were made both in wood and stone, 
and tapered from a broader top to a slighter base, a form 
peculiar to yEgean architecture. The origin of the later 
Greek, Doric, and Ionic capitals are found in those which 
surmount these early Mycenaean pillars. After the year 
2000 B.C. the Minoan palaces consisted of several stories, 
and in the late palace of Knossos at one point as many 
as four were erected. The palaces were generally of one 
of two types. Either they were composed of a mass of 
small rooms and passages grouped round a central court, 
or else, as on the mainland, their principal feature was 
a big hall or Jiiegaron, isolated from the rest of the 
building, and containing a central hearth surrounded by 
pillars, the room being entered by a vestibule on the 
short side of the hall. When a palace was built with 
a niegaron, it seldom had a central court, and the rest of 
its rooms formed a separate block. It is noticeable that 
the palaces of Crete have no fortifications, a fact that 
bears silent witness to the supremacy of Minoan sea 
power. Excavations in the island have revealed, besides 
the palace at Knossos, a fine palace at Phaestos, a royal 
villa at Aghia Triadha, and a town at Gournia. 

Painting — ^Minoan painting was largely fostered by 
the fact that the clay and rubble walls of the palaces had 
to be covered with plaster, and then decorated, in order 
to make them outwardly attractive. The earliest wall 
painting that has been preserved is a fragment of a 
fresco of the Middle Minoan period, from the earlier 
palace at Knossos, before its reconstruction, and shows a 
boy gathering crocuses. It is executed with a charming 
freshness and grace, and is a worthy forerunner to the 
splendid paintings of the Palace Period that followed it, 
such as the cupbearer, court ladies, dancing girl, and 
bull fight, from Knossos ; the cat hunting a pheasant, 


from Aghia Triadha, and the bull fight from Tiryns. Sir 
Arthur Evans has described the Knossian ladies as 
follows : " At a glance we recognize Court ladies in 
elaborate toilette. They are fresh from the coiffeur's 
hands with hair frise and curled about the head and 
shoulders, and falling down the back in long separate 
tresses. They wear high puffed sleeves, joined across 
the lower part of the neck by a narrow cross band, but 
otherwise the bosom and the whole upper part of the 
body appears to be bare. Their waists are extraordinarily 
slender, and the lower parts of their bodies are clad in a 
flounced robe with indications of embroidered bands." 

Another example of Minoan painting, chiefly interesting 
for the light it sheds on contemporary customs, is the 
decoration of a large sarcophagus of soft limestone, found 
at Aghia Triadha and representing religious ceremonies. 
Painted vases also reached a very high standard in Crete. 
The designs, which show an extraordinary freedom of 
style, most frequently represent plants, sea-weeds and sea 
creatures such as the nautilus, cuttle-fish and star-fish, 
and coral and shells. They are quite unlike any other 
early vase paintings that are known. 
_ Sculpture, Reliefs, Goldsmith's Work, etc. — Works 
of art found in the same stratum show a great difference 
of quality, and this points to the fact that the best 
artists worked for the Court, and only second-class works 
of art were distributed among the general populace. 
The earliest work of sculpture on Greek soil is the famous 
" Lion Gate " at Mycenae, where the two great beasts 
are represented as guarding a sacred pillar. In Crete no 
large piece of sculpture has been discovered, but a great 
number of works of art in plaster, ivory, faience, gold, 
silver, and other metals, and also the engravings on gems, 
prove how excellent were these early craftsmen, and what 


^GEAN ART 131 

complete control they must have had over their material. 
Among the most famous of the ^Egean reliefs, inlays, and 
carvings are the following : — 

I. An ivory figurine of a youth diving, or leaping, 
found at Knossos, in the women's quarter, together with 
archives and objects of value. ¥u\\ of an extraordinary 
life and vigour (see Plate XII.). With this figure was 
also found a small head in ivory. 

2 and 3. Two groups in faience of a wild goat suckling 
her kids, and a cow and her calf, charming and naturalistic 
groups, found in a treasure chest buried beneath the floor 
of a room near the throne-room at Knossos, and probably 
forming part of the fittings of a shrine. 

4. A faience figure of the " Great Goddess " found in 
the same spot. The figure, which is in the round, and is 
about 1 3 inches high, represents the divinity as a very 
modern figure, with a small waist, and wearing an 
embroidered and laced jacket and a full flounced skirt. 
Two snakes twine round her and she holds their heads in 
either hand. Probably a representation of the goddess 
in her fiercer form. 

5 and 6. Two black stone vases from Aghia Triad ha, 
one conical, measuring nearly 18 inches, and covered with 
reliefs representing boxing contests and bull fights ; the 
other smaller, and decorated with a procession of either 
harvesters or perhaps warriors. 

7 and 8. Two gold cups found in a tomb at Vaphio, 
near Sparta. These famous masterpieces represent in 
repousse work the favourite design of bulls. On one cup 
a bull is being snared, while on the other the scene is 
more peaceful in character. The figures of the men are 
less excellent than those of the animals. 

9 and I o. Two bronze daggers with blades ornamented 
with scenes of a lion hunt, inlaid with gold and silver. 


Realistic figures excellently designed to fit the space. 
From one of the graves at Mycenae. 

II. A bull's head in black steatite from Knossos. 

Knossos and Minos — " 1 suspect," says Professor 
Meyer, " that Minos was a name like Pharaoh or Csesar, 
given to all Cretan Kings of a certain type." Which of 
these rulers was Minos, the father of Ariadne, we cannot 
tell, for the Greek Minos legend is twofold in character. 
On one hand the King is presented to us as the friend of 
Zeus, communing with him in his Cretan cave in the 
mountains. He is the founder of a great sea empire, and 
is described by Thucydides as " the first person known to 
us who established a navy," and by Homer as the great 
and wise law-giver, who promoted the cause of justice in 
his dominions, established the legal " Code of Minos," the 
source of all subsequent legislation, and who, after his 
death, was appointed to be judge of the dead in Hades. 
On the other hand Minos is revealed to us as the cruel 
King, the Master of the Minotaur, who each year sacrifices 
men and maidens to its fury. This Minos, according to 
Professor Ridgeway, is " Minos the destroyer, under whose 
rule the luxury and splendour of Knossos came to its 
sudden and violent end." 

Archeology, if unsuccessful in revealing the exact 
personality of Minos, " or whatever historical person is 
covered by that name," has done much to clear up the 
mystery of the Labyrinth and the bull. With reference 
to the palace, its discoverer says : " There can be little 
remaining doubt that this vast edifice, which in a broad 
historic sense we are justified in calling the ' Palace 
of Minos,' is one and the same as the traditional 
' Labyrinth.' A great part of the ground plan itself, 
with its long corridors and repeated succession of 
rambling galleries, its tortuous passages and spacious 


underground conduit, its bewildering system of small 
chambers, does, in fact, present many of the characteristics 
of a maze." Sir Arthur Evans has also advanced the 
theory that the labyrinth may have derived its name 
from the labrys or double axe, which is repeatedly engraved 
on the stones of the building, and which was a sacred 
symbol of the Minoans. Other experts, however, are 
inclined to believe that these symbols were only used as 
masons' marks. 

The works of art that have been discovered are an 
ample proof of the Minoan practice of bull-baiting, and 
also reveal the fact that toreadors were of both sexes. 
" It is highly probable," writes Mr Burrows, " that the 
toreadors were slaves, or captives won as spoil, if not as 
tribute, from lands over the sea. Each Minoa may have 
had to send its quota to the Imperial capital. It is 
difficult to explain otherwise the fact that girls as well as 
youths played their part in the ring ; and the Athenian 
tradition that both sexes were sent as tribute can hardly 
be a coincidence. That there were attempts to escape 
that failed, who can doubt ? That there was one that 
succeeded was a story which, if not true, was at least 
ben trovato. As the memories of those man-destroying 
bulls ' preserved ' by the king for palace sport were 
coloured by the man-beast form of art, so the horrors of 
captivity seemed real again to after generations, when 
they stumbled through the long corridors and deep 
basements of the palace." ^ 

^ The Discoveries hi Crete. Murray. 



Description of the Palace of Alcinous^from the " OdysseyP"^ 

" Meanwhile Odysseus went to the famous palace of Alcinous, and 
his heart was full of many thoughts, as he stood there, or ever he 
had reached the threshold of bronze. For there was a gleam as it 
were of sun or moon through the high-roofed hall of great-hearted 
Alcinous. Brazen were the walls which ran this way and that from 
the threshold to the inmost chamber, and round them was a frieze of 
blue^ and golden were the doors, that closed in the good house. 
Silver were the door-posts that were set on the brazen threshold, and 
silver the lintel thereupon, and the hook of the door was of gold. 
And on either side stood golden hounds and silver, which Hephaistos 
wrought by his cunning to guard the palace of great-hearted Alcinous, 
being free from death and age all their days. And within were seats 
arrayed against the wall, this way and that, from the threshold even 
unto the inmost chamber, and thereon were spread light coverings, 
finely woven, the handiwork of women. . . . Yea, and there were 
youths fashioned in gold, standing on firm set bases, with flaming 
torches in their hands, giving light through the night to~the feasters 
in the palace. . . . And without the courtyard, hard by the door is a 
great garden . . . and there grow tall trees, blossoming pear trees 
and pomegranates and apple trees with bright fruit, and sweet figs 
and olives in their bloom." 

^ Translated Butcher and Lang. Macmillan. 



Part I. — Elementary Lessons in Story Form 

INTRODUCTION — Rather more than a hundred years after 
the death of Ashur-bani-pal the people living in Greece grew to be 
very famous. They were the descendants of the ^-geans of whom 
you have heard. What do you remember about them ? The Greeks, 
their descendants, were perhaps the greatest artists that the world 
has ever known, and many of them were splendid-looking men and 
great athletes. This is a story about one of them. 

I. Agias — In a town above the flowery plains of 
Thessaly, not long after the Persians had been driven out 
of the country, there lived a man called Agias. He was 
young and strong and handsome, and the best athlete in 
the whole state. Like all other Greeks of good family, 
he had been taught that a man must have a well-trained 
body as well as a well-trained mind and character, and 
from his earliest years he had practised running and 
jumping and wrestling. He knew, too, that if he were 
called upon to defend his country, it would be his duty 
to be strong and in good training and ready to suffer 
hardship and exposure. 

Agias had entered for many athletic games and 
competitions, and had already been a victor eight times ; 
but there was one thing above all that he longed for. 
No Thessalonian had ever won the Pankration, or 
wrestling contests at Olympia. Now the Olympic games 
were the most famous in all Greece, and if he could 



only win in these, he would bring great honour to 
his town and state. So early in the mornings Agias 
would be up and out on the hill-side, running for miles 
in the wind or rain or under the burning sun, until he 
grew still more hardy and strong. He would also 
practise wrestling with his friends, until there was not 
one of them whom he could not throw. Each day 
people would watch him, and would say one to another, 
" Agias will bring us all glory soon ; if he works hard 
and earnestly, never sparing himself, he will yet live to 
be an Olympic Victor and an honour to his state." 

At last the time of the festival drew near. One 
morning when Agias was stretched out on the grass, 
resting after a hard round of wrestling, he heard in 
the distance the sound of a trumpet. He started to 
his feet, his heart beating. It must be the heralds who 
had come from Olympia to proclaim to all the Greek 
states the sacred truce, and bid them all welcome to the 
festival. During the truce no state might war against 
another, and all might come and go to the games in 
safety. There was no event in all Greece that was 
more sacred, because the festival was held in honour of 
Zeus, the chief of all the gods. The heralds came in 
sight round the corner of the hill-side. They wore white 
tunics and crowns of olive, and bore in their hands long 
heralds' staves. The townspeople flocked to welcome 
them ; the gates were thrown open, and they were eagerly 
questioned about the games ; who were going to enter 
for the different events, and who were looked upon as 
likely victors. Agias listened eagerly, and when the 
heralds were gone he began to make preparations for 
the journey. 

At last the day of departure dawned, and waking 
early, Agias slipped from the house and climbed the 


.hill-side above the sleeping town. The dew lay heavy 
on the short turf, and the scent of the wild thyme rose 
freshly on the cool morning air. In the distance above 
the plain towered Mount Olympus. Agias thought that 
the gods and goddesses dwelt on its heights and he 
turned towards them, and prayed to Zeus that he would 
lend him his aid and help him to win in the coming 
contest. The sun rose in a cloudless blue sky, and the 
plain below shimmered in the heat. The town was 
astir, and a little goatherd climbed the hill-side, driving 
his flock before him and piping a little wild and 
melancholy air to the morning skies. Agias leapt 
lightly to his feet and ran down the slope to the town, 
revelling in his youth and strength and longing for the 
contest before him. His breakfast was simple — figs, 
cheese and porridge — and he was soon ready, and set off 
with his family and some chosen friends, who were also 
going to the festival. 

2. The Festival, (a) The Arrival — All the world 
was flocking to Olympia : rich men and peasants, philo- 
sophers and statesmen, soldiers and artists of every 
description. The sculptors and the painters knew that 
they would get abundant inspiration for their work, for 
they would see the most splendid youth of Greece, 
strong and graceful and lithe, and from the victors they 
would get commissions for statues and paintings. The 
roads were black with people. Clouds of dust rose 
into the heat and the sunshine, as the chariots flashed 
past, drawn by splendid horses. Many tongues were 
heard, for strangers were arriving from distant lands ; 
not to compete, as this was a privilege for Greeks only, 
but to watch and share in the excitement. Fathers 
brought their sons, so that the games might be an 
inspiration to them, but women, strange to say, were 


absent ; they were forbidden to attend the festival, owing 
to some religious law. 

There were few buildings at Olympia besides those 
connected with the festival, and although some visitors 
had put up tents, the mass of the people slept in the 
open air, under the shade of the olive and poplar trees, 
or by the banks of the river. Agias and his friends 
chose a place for their camp, and then went up to the 
great temple of Zeus, where all the competitors were 
assembling. Here they underwent a solemn scrutiny, 
and standing before the great altar which was built in 
the open air in the sacred enclosure, they offered up a 
sacrifice of a wild boar and swore that they had trained 
for ten months in a manner worthy of the festival ; that 
they would use no unfair means to win a victory, and 
that they were innocent of all impiety or irreverence to 
the gods. Agias looked around him at his fellow 
competitors, as strong and bronzed and eager as he. 
What would his fate be, he wondered ! The ceremony 
over, he was free for the rest of the day. He made a 
round of the race-courses, talked with other athletes, 
hunted up old friends, and then went off early to rest, 
to be ready for what lay before him. 

(b) The Contests — The next day the contests began. 
Before the sun was up every good point of view was 
occupied. There were no seats so the people lined the 
edge of the Stadium and Hippodrome and sat rank 
above rank on the steep slopes that rose above them. 
The sun blazed down on the vast audience and the dust 
rose in clouds. The people had no hats to give them 
shade, but nothing could damp their enthusiasm. The 
contests lasted three days. Each morning a blast of 
trumpets announced the entry of the judges, distinguished 
visitors, and competitors, who entered the Stadium in 


procession and took their appointed places. The judges 
wore long purple robes, and garlands on their heads. 
They solemnly swore that they would judge all events 
fairly. Each athlete's name was proclaimed in turn by 
the heralds, who asked the assembled company if there 
were any charge to be brought against him. Then the 
games began, Agias watched the events with keen 
interest. First came the chariot races, This was the 
sport of the wealthy and those of noble birth. Princes 
and rulers stood in groups by the side of the course, 
and watched their four splendid horses harnessed and 
brought to the starting-point. The charioteers stood 
firm and erect, dressed in long white chitons or tunics 
which fell to their feet. They grasped the reins, knowing 
that danger lay before them. The race was twelve times 
round the course, and at any one of the twenty-three 
turns involved, the chariots might dash one against the 
other, and the drivers be thrown to the ground and killed. 
But they were sons of princely houses, used to danger and 
adventure, and their eyes were steady and their hands firm. 
" They took their stations where the appointed umpires 
placed them by lot and ranged the cars ; then at the 
sound of the brazen trump they started. All shouted 
to their horses, and shook the reins in their hands ; the 
whole course was filled with the noise of rattling chariots ; 
the dust flew upward ; and all in a confused throng plied 
their goads unsparingly, each of them striving to pass 
the wheels and the snorting steeds of his rivals ; for alike 
at their backs and at their rolling wheels the breath of 
the horses foamed and smote. Mishaps followed — shock 
on shock and crash on crash, till the whole race-ground 
was strewn with the wreck of chariots." ^ 

^ From the description of a chariot race at Delphi, in The Eleclra, 
Sophocles. Jebb's translation. Cambridge University Press. 


The excitement was intense. People held their breath, 
and then leapt to their feet, shouting wildly to encourage 
their favourites. A great roar of applause went up as 
the winner rounded the post for the last time, and pulled 
his steaming horses up beyond the goal. He stood 
dignified and proud, his head thrown back, his hands 
slightly trembling from the strain, while the owner of 
the team hastened with his congratulations, and received 
the prize that his horses had won. There were artists 
too whose eyes had followed the charioteer, and who 
had so realized the fineness of his poise and bearing 
that already they saw in imagination the splendid statues 
and paintings that he would inspire, and which would 
bring them fame and render him immortal. 

Then came competitions of all sorts : disk-throwing, 
jumping, boxing and throwing the javelin. These were 
followed by the foot-races for boys and youths. They 
were always popular events, and the crowd gathered 
thickly to cheer on its friends. It was the custom in 
Greece for all athletes to compete without clothes, in 
order that their limbs shall have perfect freedom, and 
there were hundreds of artists among the spectators, 
who studied the well-knit figures and their graceful move- 
ments in order that they might afterwards carve and 
paint beautiful statues, frescoes, and vases. Agias watched 
with keen interest as the lithe and lightly built forms flew 
past like the wind. He singled out a handsome youth 
with a band bound round his curling hair, and shouted 
with delight when he won the race, an easy first, and 
received his crown of wild olive amidst enthusiastic 

The moment came at last when Agias must strive for 
the honour of his town and country. He heard his name 
called as if in a dream. It seemed to him as if the 


words " Agias of Pharsalos in the state of Thessaly " 
were echoing back at him from every hill. A long- 
robed official was holding the silver urn, and uttering 
a prayer to Zeus, Agias plunged his hand in and drew 
his lot. He was drawn for the first heat, and at the 
blast of the trumpet he closed with his opponent. They 
wrestled together, and to his delight Agias found that 
he could easily throw him the three times that were 
required. He was successful in each of the ensuing 
rounds, and panting with excitement, he realized that 
he had now reached the final. His opponent was big 
and muscular, and the spectators shouted encouragingly, 
knowing that there would be a close competition. The 
trumpet sounded and the final trial began. It seemed 
at first as though the chances were equal. Sometimes 
Agias fell and sometimes it was his opponent who lost 
a round. The strong bronzed figures swayed and bent, 
their muscles standing out like cords. The great crowd 
was tense with excitement. Somewhere in that dense 
mass of people Agias knew that his friends were watching, 
and straining their eyes so that no movement of his 
should escape them. He nerved himself for a final effort, 
and using every atom of skill and strength he possessed, 
he succeeded in throwing his opponent for the third 

As he rose and stood in the centre of the vast crowds, 
the light of valour in his eyes, his breath coming and 
going quickly and unevenly, the wild applause seemed 
to sound in his ears like the roaring of a great sea. 
Thousands of faces swam before him, and he was dimly 
conscious of men standing up, stamping and hurrahing 
madly, and above all the echoing words, " Agias, Agias, 
Thessaly ! " ringing out into the blazing summer noon. 
Flowers and garlands fell thickly round him ; someone 


was advancing towards him, and joy surged through him 
as he realizes that in him Thessaly was victorious for 
the first time. He bowed his head, and with a blast of 
trumpets, the victor's crown of wild olive was placed upon 
his brow. 

(c) The Feast — It was evening. The last of the 
games was over, and the victors were making ready to 
attend the public banquet given by the authorities in 
their honour. Agias, rested and refreshed after his 
labours, threaded his way through the olive trees, which 
looked silvery and dim in the moonlight. From every 
side came sounds of revelry, music, and dancing. Down 
on the plain, hundreds of torches lit up the booths and 
sheds, where a busy trade in cakes, fruit, flowers, and 
wares of every kind was going on. The great feast was 
crowded. Princes and nobles, sculptors and poets, victors 
crowned with olive, and officials of the festival reclined 
on couches, and hundreds of slaves passed to and fro, 
supplying the small tables with food of every kind. It 
was a brilliant scene, and the table was furnished with all 
the delicacies that the Greeks loved — 

" Couches, tables. 
Cushions and coverlets for mattresses, — 
Plum cake and plain, comfits and caraways. 
Confectionery, fruits preserved and fresh, 
Relishes of all sorts, hot things and bitter, 
Savouries and sweets, boiled biscuits and what-not. 
Flowers and perfumes and garlands, everything." 

During the feast music was played, and when the banquet 
drew to a close, a poet rose from his couch, and recited a 
poem in honour of the victors. " O King Zeus, the 
accomplisher, grant them with light feet to move through 
life, give them all honour, and sweet hap of goodly things." ^ 

^ Extant Odes of Pindar, translated E. Myers. Macmillan. 


The guests passed out into the moonh'ght, and on to the 
sacred enclosure. There, in the shadow of the great 
temple, a sacrifice was offered to Zeus, and representatives 
of the different states presented costly vessels of gold and 
silver as offerings to the temple. The flames leant on the 
altar, casting a flickering light on the statues of athletes, 
that stood like dim ghosts on every side. Agias looked 
around him well content, while high above in the summer 
night " the lovely shining of the fair-faced moon beamed 
forth, and all the precinct sounded with the songs of festal 

3. The Home-coming — All good things come to an 
end. The Olympic games were over and Agias was on 
his way home. The news of his victory had gone on 
before him, and as he left the plain of Thessaly and began 
to climb the spur of the mountain on which his town was 
built, his reception was being prepared. As he drew 
near the town, the great gates were flung open, and a 
procession of men and girls advanced to meet him. 
They were singing a chorus in honour of his victory, and 
in their steps followed a crowd of the townspeople, eager 
to do honour to the hero of the day. Garlands were 
thrown over him, and flowers fell like rain in his path. 
He might not enter the town by the public gates. A 
way had to be made for him that no foot had yet trod, 
and scores of men attacked the wall with picks and 
crowbars, until a breach was made through which he 
could pass. His family and friends crowded round him, 
but he would not go home until he had been to the 
temple, and solemnly and reverently offered his victor's 
crown as a thanksgiving to the god. There was nothing 
else in the world that Agias valued as much as that 
chaplet of faded leaves. It was more precious than gold 

1 Exlant Odes of Pindar, translated E. Myers. Macmillan. 


and silver to him, for he had laboured for honour, not for 
material gain. There was another great honour that also 
fell to him. In due course his statue would be erected 
by the town, and placed near the temple of the gods. 
No one in Greece that night was happier than Agias. 

" He that has lately won glory in the time of his 
sweet youth, is lifted on the wings of his strong hope 
and soaring valour, for his thoughts are above riches." 

" For if a man rejoice to suffer cost and toil, and 
achieve god-builded excellence, and therewith fate plant 
for him fair renown alread}' at the farthest bounds of 
bliss, has such an one cast anchor, for the glory that he 
hath thereby from god." ^ 


Introduction— Last story. This is a story about a boy who 
became a sculptor, perhaps the greatest artist who ever li\ed. 

I. The Panathenaic Procession — In the town of 
Athens, which was built near the blue ^gean sea, lived 
a little boy called Phidias. His hair was long, and fell 
in curls over his shoulders, and he wore a short white 
tunic and sandals. One morning he woke in great 
excitement. For the first time he was to be allowed to 
watch the great procession in honour of the goddess 
Athena, whom the Athenians thought of as the pro- 
tectress of their town and country. They asked her help 
and advice in all their enterprises, and they loved to 
honour her in every way. That day a beautiful mantle 
of violet and pale gold was to be carried in the procession 
and draped on her statue. Every four years a new 
mantle was presented to her in this way, and a great 
festival with games and music was held in honour of the 

1 Extmit Odes of Pindar, translated E. Myers. Macmillan. 


event. Phidias knew what the mantle was like. It had 
been embroidered by some noble Athenian maidens^ and 
several times he had been allowed to watch, when their 
clever fingers traced out the figures of gods and giants 
that covered it. He loved all beautiful things, and even 
though he was only a child, he would model little figures 
out of clay, and draw and paint men and women with 
their white tunics and robes. 

The day dawned clear and fine. Phidias could hardly 
wait to eat his breakfast of barley cakes and honey and 
figs, and gave his parents no peace until they were ready 
to start. The town was full of visitors from every part 
of Greece, and even distant lands from beyond the sea. 
Everywhere was bustle and excitement. There were 
booths set up in the open places, with wares of every kind 
exposed for sale, but to-day the people were thinking 
only of the great procession, and the road that it would 
travel was already lined with hundreds of men, women, 
and children. Phidias and his father and mother secured 
a good position, and the boy waited with impatience, 
watching the crowds, and wishing that he could see the 
mustering of the procession outside the gate of the town 
by the Sacred Way. The time slowly passed ; the crowd 
got denser. In the distance was heard the fishmonger's 
bell, which showed that the morning's catch had arrived, 
and a slave, who has no leisure of his own, hurried away 
from the roadside to attend to the needs of his master's 

At last a low murmur showed that the procession had 
started. Phidias strained his eyes, and saw in the 
distance a cloud of dust. Sounds of music and slow 
chanting were heard, and round the bend of the road the 
first detachment of cavalry came into sight. The men 
wore short tunics and crested helmets on their heads. 


They rode proudly, curbing the impatience of their fine 
and spirited horses, which tossed their heads, their manes 
flowing in the breeze. Soldiers on foot followed, gallant 
in bearing, bronzed and strong of limb. Then the 
chariots passed, their drivers standing silent, firm, erect. 
Next came aged Athenian citizens with long beards and 
flowing robes, bearing olive branches ; men carrying trays 
on which were heaped cakes and other offerings, and 
others leading oxen, cows and sheep, wreathed with 
garlands, as offerings to the gods. Then came lines of 
men and maidens, singing as they went, and bearing 
sacrificial urns, followed by representatives of the whole 
body of Athenian citizens. In the centre of the 
procession, surrounded by maidens of the utmost grace 
and beauty, the sacred mantle was displayed, stretched 
on the mast and )'ard of a wooden ship, which was drawn 
along on rollers. Phidias held his breath as it passed. 
Never before had he seen anything so solemn and so 
beautiful as this procession. He stood spellbound as it 
passed along the winding road, up the steep Acropolis 
hill. The trampling of the horses and the sound of the 
singing grew fainter. Above him the temple of Athena 
stood tawny and golden against the deep blue of the sky. 
The sunlight glanced from the armour and the spears of 
the soldiers. The sound of the music floated down on 
the summer air, fainter and still fainter, until it died away. 
Now the embroidered mantle was being draped on the 
old statue of the goddess Athena, the statue that once a 
year was carried down to the sea and washed in the cool 
blue water. Phidias was taken home, tired out with the 
waiting and excitement. He little dreamt how the time 
should come when the Acropolis, newly covered with 
great buildings and statues, should owe its immortal 
glorv to him. 


2. The Persian Wars — Time passed. Troubles fell 
thick and fast upon Greece. The Persians, the people 
who had conquered Assyria, thought that they would 
conquer Greece also, and their king sent his army to 
invade the country. They were a strong and powerful 
nation, and they thought that they could soon overcome 
the Greeks. They marched in thousands into the fair 
Greek country, but the people joined together and fought 
with the greatest bravery and courage, and defeated them 
at a place called Marathon. The Persians retired discom- 
fited, but later came again in greater strength than before. 
Then every Greek that could fight polished his spear and 
shield, and prepared to drive away the hated foe from 
the land. They determined to defend the pass of 
Thermopylae against the advance of the invaders, but 
they were outnumbered. The Persian host was so 
enormous that their arrows came in clouds, until it seemed 
as though the sun would be hidden. " So much the 
better, we can fight in the shade," a Greek observed. 
But bravery and heroism alone could not win the day ; 
thousands fell in the battle, and the three hundred men 
who defended the pass to the last died a splendid death, 
fighting until the end. 

The Persians then prepared to march upon Athens. 
The Athenians, knowing that they could not hold the 
town against the enemy, sent their women and children 
away to places of safety, and themselves embarked in 
their ships, which numbered nearly four hundred. The 
Persians sacked the town, burnt the temples, destroyed 
the statues, and, marshalling their fleet, prepared for 
battle. Sitting on a golden throne, Xerxes, King of the 
Persians, waited to see the Greek ships overwhelmed by 
his enormous fleet. He did not realize that the Greeks 
had taken up their position in a narrow part of the bay, 


where his ships, said to number twelve hundred in all, 
would only get in the way of each other. 

" When, however, day, with its white steeds, radiant to 
behold, had occupied all the earth, first of all a cheer from 
the Greeks rang loudly like a chant of triumph, and shrill 
and clear from the island crags echo returned the cry. 
And fear was in the hearts of all the barbarians, finding 
themselves mistaken ; for the Greeks were then chanting a 
solemn paean, not as seeking to escape, but as advancing 
to battle with daring courage. Next a bugle with its call 
fired all their line into action, and at once with foaming 
oars in unison they smote to the word of command the 
brine. And rapidly the whole of them came plain into 
view . . . and the same time a mighty shout would be 
heard : ' Sons of the Greeks, advance ! Deliver your 
country, deliver your children and your wives, the temples 
of your fathers' gods, the tombs of your ancestors ! Now 
is the contest which decides all ! ' " ^ 

The Greeks drove the sharp metal prows of their ships 
into the broad sides of the Persians, and sheared off their 
protruding oars. The enemy's ships, driven one against 
the other in the narrow waters, were broken up and 
damaged in the confusion of the fight. The sea was 
strewn with floating wreckage, and by nightfall the 
Greeks were victorious, and the battle of Salamis was 
won. Further fighting took place, until at last the 
day came when the hated foe was driven out of the 

3. Phidias and the Parthenon — With joy and 
thanksgiving the Athenians returned to their beloved 
city, but what a sight met their eyes ! The houses were 
levelled to the ground, the temple and gateway on the 

^ i^lschylus, Y'ke Persians, translated Headlam. Bell. (The poet was 
an eye-witness of the scene. ) 


Acropolis were burnt, and the statues were broken and 
scattered ; nothing but desolation could be seen. The 
rebuilding was at once begun. Simple houses were 
erected for the people to live in, and great walls were 
built to the sea and round the harbour in case of further 

At last an Athenian called Pericles rose to power and 
became the greatest ruler Athens had known. He loved 
his country more than anything else, and determined to 
make Athens a monument to her greatness. The wars 
were over ; she had conquered magnificently ; what could 
be done to immortalize her glory and to give praise to 
the gods and to Athena ? The State had untold wealth 
at her disposal, chiefly money contributed by other Greek 
states, but also spoil from the Persian wars — gold and 
silver armour, jewelled daggers, chariots and treasure of 
every kind. Pericles was determined that it should not 
be spent by the people in luxurious living, but in some 
other and nobler way. He had a friend who could help 
him, a famous sculptor, the greatest in all Greece. Who 
was he ? None other than Phidias, the boy who had 
watched the procession, now grown to be a grey-haired 
man. Pericles and Phidias had long talks together. 
Sometimes the sculptor came to the ruler's house with a 
big roll of parchment under his arm on which were 
drawn plans of great temples and statues. Poets and 
philosophers joined in the discussion, and all made 
suggestions as to how the Acropolis could be beautified. 
Sometimes Pericles visited Phidias in his workshop. 
Roughly-hewn blocks of marble were piled in the corners, 
and at one side stood a big furnace for melting bronze 
and precious metals. Pupils came and went. The sound 
of hammers and chisels never ceased, and beautiful 
sculptures by the master's hand stood about the big shed. 


Day and night Phidias thought about the work that had 
been entrusted to him. 

One evening lie left his plans and drawings and went 
out into the town. Dusk was falling, and the air was 
soft and scented with, the fragrance of the spring. He 
turned his steps towards the Acropolis, which loomed 
above him, a dark mass against the fading light in the 
sky. Slowly he climbed the steep pathway, and leaving 
the noise of the town behind him, threaded his way 
among the fallen pillars and blocks of broken marble, 
until he stood in the shadow of a bronze figure of 
immense height towering up into the night sky. It was 
a statue of Athena which he had made and cast some 
years before. He stood in silence before the goddess, 
praying for her help in his great undertaking. The 
moon came out from behind a cloud and lit up an 
ethereal world, where the sea and shore and distant hills 
showed dimly and mysteriously. Exaltation filled the 
heart and mind of the great sculptor, and visions of 
immortal beauty haunted him until he saw, as if in a 
dream, the new Athens that should arise in answer to his 
inspiration. A cool night wind crept up from the sea, 
and a bird called. Phidias, roused from his reveries, 
turned his steps homeward, and retracing his way through 
the sleeping city, reached his house. 

The work on the Acropolis was begun at last. News 
of the rebuilding of the city was carried far and wide by 
the Greek soldiers and traders, and hundreds of artisans 
from far and near crowded into the town. The Athenians 
were filled with enthusiasm, and the workmen vied with 
each other as to the qualitj' of their work. A long train 
of hundreds of mules wound to and fro from the quarries 
of Pentelicus, some ten miles distant, bringing from them 
numberless blocks of marble. Thousands of slaves were 



■m .^.^^^.^ -■ 




set to work on the great walls which banked up the sides 
of the Acropolis hill, while in his workshop Phidias 
designed sacred buildings and their decorations, and 
issued orders to the architects and sculptors who carried 
out his designs. He remembered the Panathenaic pro- 
cession which he first saw and loved as a child, and with 
this as his subject he drew out a magnificent frieze, to be 
carved in stone on the walls of the Parthenon. He also 
designed figures of the gods and goddesses for the same 
building, which other artists helped him to carry out, but 
the great statue of Athena, which was to stand in the 
cella or hall of the Parthenon, was entirely the work of 
his own hands. To no one else could so great a trust 
be given. 

The building progressed with extraordinary rapidity. 
The whole city was stirred with enthusiasm. No one 
cared that his own house was small and plain. It was 
the glory of Athens alone that mattered. Day by day 
and year by year the buildings of the Acropolis rose, 
stately in conception and unsurpassed in harmony and 
grace. At last the longed-for day arrived, when the last 
barricade was taken away and the people were free to see 
the sanctuary of their gods. They crowded up the steep 
path and the long flight of steps that led to the Propylce.a 
or gateway : men, women, and children, poets and philo- 
sophers, sculptors and painters, all of them filled with joy 
and pride in their beautiful city. They were proud to be 
Athenians, and wanted to give thanks to Athena and the 
gods, and to take part in the general rejoicings. Beautiful 
buildings greeted their eyes on every side. Before them 
the Parthenon, the new temple of Athena, lifted its golden- 
tinted marbles into the clear air, and glowed with 
beauty against the blue skies. The outside walls were 
decorated with beautiful sculptures ; figures of the gods 


and goddesses, and warriors and centaurs. Inside the 
columns, high on the outer walls of the central chamber, 
ran the frieze of the Panathenaic procession. The people 
threw back heads and craned their necks to see all its 
beauties. Beside a pillar stood a grey-haired man, 
silently watching the crowds. Someone asked him why 
he had placed the frieze so high, that the people could 
scarcely realize its beauty. " The gods can see it," 
replied Phidias. Inside the temple the crowds stood in 
awe and reverence. Before them in the half-light towered 
the great statue of Athena Parthenos. Her face was of 
softly gleaming ivory : golden draperies flowed from her 
shoulders in richly glowing curves and folds. On her 
head was a golden helmet, and one hand rested on a great 
shield. The statue was so wonderful and awe-inspiring 
that the people stood spellbound before it. Then they 
turned, and with soft footfall and in silence passed out 
again into the dazzling sunshine and left their places for 

The crowds came and went. The fame of Athens 
passed from lip to lip. " Come to the splendid land of 
Athens and see a country rich in loveliness, rich in men. 
Here is the majesty of inviolate shrines, here are statues 
and soaring temples, here are processions, sacred, blessed, 
and through every season of the year flower-crowned 
feasts and festivals of gods. Here as spring advances, 
comes the . . . musical delight of dancing, and tlie deep- 
toned melody of the flute." ^ 


First Story — Avn. — To show the effect of the athletic ideal upon 
Greek art. 
Agias was born at Pharsalos in Thessaly, and lived about the 

* Aristophanes. The Clouds. 


middle of the fifth century B.C. He was a famous athlete, having won 
five times at Nemea, five times at the Isthmian games, and three times 
at Delphi without sufifering defeat. His statue by Lysippus was com- 
missioned by a descendant of the family, and was cast in bronze, and 
probably erected in his native town. The marble replica, recently 
found at Delphi, was made about the year 338-334 B.C., and formed 
part of a votive offering. Although it is probably not by the hand of 
the master, there is no doubt that it was a contemporary work and may 
very likely have been executed under his supervision. The descrip- 
tions of the charioteer, and the youth who won the foot-race, are 
suggested by the original bronzes at Delphi and Munich. The 
sculptor, date and original of both of these works are unknown. The 
bust of the boy dates from about the middle of the fifth century B.C., 
while the charioteer is a somewhat earlier masterpiece. Different 
critics have suggested that the whole-length figure represents the 
charioteer of {a) Hieron of Syracuse ; {b) Arkesilas of Cyrene ; 
{c) Anaxilas of Rhegium. 

The story is imaginary. The details are chiefly taken from Greek 
Athletic Sports and Festivals^ by E. Norman Gardiner. The exact 
order of the events of the Olympic games is not known, and although 
it is probable that the victors were crowned after each event, it has 
not been definitely proved. The famous statue of Zeus at Olympia 
was probably erected by Phidias at a later date than 450 B.C. As 
this was the time when the festival reached its height, it has been 
chosen as the moment of the story. 

Second Story — Paragraph i imaginary. The description of the 
procession is drawn from contemporary accounts and from the sculp- 
tures of the Parthenon. It is not known when the wooden ship was 
first used to display the peplos, but the custom had probably been 
instituted by the beginning of the fifth century B.C. 

Paragraph 3 imaginary. The saying of Phidias that the gods could 
see his frieze is traditional. The Parthenon was probably built during 
the years 447-438 B.C. A detailed description of its sculptures can be 
found in the explanatory guide, published by the British Museum 
Trustees (price is.). 


Part. II. — Material for Advanced Lessons only 

History and Civilization — The early civilization of 
the JEgean was destroyed by northern invaders who came, 
not only to conquer, but to settle down in the new lands 
that they had won. These northern people were a 
vigorous, sturdy, and self-controlled race of soldiers, and 
their intermarriage with the quick-witted, sensitive, and 
beauty-loving seafarers of the ^Egean may have some- 
thing to do with the genius of the Greek race, which was 
in this way the heir of varied and powerful characteristics. 
It is interesting to note that the Spartans, who had most 
of the northern blood in their veins, remained to the end 
a warlike and inartistic people, while the Athenians and 
lonians, who were the most artistic of all the Greeks, 
claimed to be of the purest native descent. 

Another cause that helped to foster the genius of the 
people was the geographical position of the country, which 
is a land of mountains and hills, with a coast-line so broken 
that there is no inland spot more than forty miles distant 
from the sea. Owing to its centre position in the ancient 
world, its natural harbours, and the extent of Greek enter- 
prise in war, colonization, and trade, the country became 
the home of all foreign thought and ideas, and mental or 
physical stagnation was unknown. 

The early monarchies of the Homeric times had been 
superseded by the rise of small independent states, which 
were ruled over by the heads of noble families, or popular 
leaders or " tyrants." These states were continually at 
war with each other, and this engendered a hardy, active, 
and resourceful people, ever ready to devote themselves to 
the service of their state. It was, however, the temporary 
union of these states that resulted in the great age of 
the Greek genius. The Persian invasions, under Darius 


and Xerxes, threatened the safety of all, and sinking their 
differences by force of necessity, the people fought with 
magnificent courage, and in the battles of Marathon (490 
B.C.), Salamis (480 B.C.), Platea (479 B.C.); and Mycale 
(479 B.C.) completely defeated the enemy. 

Then followed a period of unsurpassed intellectual and 
aesthetic power. The victories kindled in the people 
a passionate exaltation of civic and religious energy, and 
the white flame of their genius burnt fiercely, and still 
lives in some of the greatest masterpieces of literature 
and art that the world has ever known. 

Among the Greeks, there were none more intellectually 
and artistically endowed than the Athenians, who reached 
the summit of their power under Pericles (died 429 B.C.). 
We get a vivid description of the people in the following 
account by Thucydides, written during the first half of 
the fifth century B.C. : — 

" You have never considered what manner of men are 
these A.thenians. . . . They are revolutionary, equally 
quick in the conception and the execution of every new 
plan— they are bold beyond their strength ; they run 
risks which prudent people would condemn ; and in the 
midst of misfortune they are full of hope. . . . They are 
always abroad — for they hope to gain something by leav- 
ing their homes. . . . Their bodies they devote to their 
country as though they belonged to other men ; their true 
self is their mind, which is most trulv their own when 
employed in her service. When they do not carry out 
an intention which they have formed, they seem to have 
sustained a personal bereavement ; when an enterprise 
succeeds, they have gained a mere instalment of what is 
to come ; but if they fail they at once conceive new hopes, 
and so fill up the void. With them alone to hope is to 
have, for they lose not a moment in the execution of an 


idea. . . . To do their duty is their only holiday, and 
they deem the quiet of inaction to be as disagreeable as 
the most tiresome business." ^ 

The fourth century saw the growing power of 
Macedonia, a half Hellenic province to the north of 
Greece. B)^ the end of that century Greece had come 
under its rule, and, as a Macedonian province, became part 
of the immense Hellenic empire of Alexander the Great 
(356-323 B.C.). This famous general conquered Persia, 
extended his dominions as far as Parthia, Bactria, and 
Northern India, and conquered Egypt. After his death 
his dominions were divided among various lesser rulers, 
none of whom were strong enough to hold the vast empire 
together. Eventually three kingdoms were established : 
Macedonia and the two Macedonian kingdoms of Ptolemy 
in Egypt, and Seleucus in Syria, the latter including Meso- 
potamia and Seleucia, the capital of the kingdom ; Persia, 
Media, Bactria, and other " upper provinces," together 
with most of Asia Minor. During the third and second 
centuries B.C. the growing power of Rome made itself felt, 
and in the year 146 B.C. Greece became a Roman 

Religion — The early Greeks, who like other primitive 
people deified unseen agencies controlling natural pheno- 
mena, expressed their worship of them as their ^Egean, 
ancestors had done, in a veneration for stones, trees and 
pillars. We cannot tell if the deities were supposed to 
be connected with these objects in some occult way, or 
if the stones and trees were only regarded as their symbols, 
and we do not know also at what time the people first 
began to imagine their gods in human form. There is 
little or no evidence of their sculptured representation in 
the Homeric poems, but their conception was to a great 

^ Jowett's translation. Clarendon Press. 


extent furthered and developed by the early Greek epics, 
and not long afterwards the first human representations 
must have been attempted. 

The pillar was gradually developed into some sort of 
stiff human semblance by sculptors who in this way 
exercised no little control over the popular thought 
concerning the national deities. By the sixth century B.C., 
although the old rigid figures were still preserved and 
worshipped in the temples, the gods were represented by 
human figures in archaic form, and the Greeks conceived 
their deities as men and women fashioned like themselves, 
dwelling on Mount Olympus in Thessaly, and sharing, to 
a certain extent, their own thoughts and emotions. By 
the fifth century the sculptors had gained enough power 
over their material to emphasize the individual character- 
istics of each god and goddess. It must be remembered, 
however, that the Greek people were of mixed race, and 
that many varying beliefs were held in different parts of 
the country where different gods were held in veneration. 
Besides their cult of the Olympic deities the Greeks 
believed also in a very ancient form of religion, which 
consisted in the worship of mysterious nature goddesses. 
The most important of the gods of Olympus are as 
follows : 

Zeus, the son of Cronos and Rhea, the father of most 
of the gods and the supreme ruler over them. He was 
the giver of victory in battle and the god of all manly 
force and excellence. He was said to have been born in 
a cave on Mount Ida, Crete, Attributes : a thunder bolt, 
aegis (skin-covered shield), or eagle. 

The Brothers and Sisters of Zeus 

Hera, his consort, representing the female principle in 
nature and the goddess of marriage. Generally represented 


with a crown, segis or pomegranate, or a peacock, her 
sacred bird. 

Demeter, the earth mother and goddess of corn and 
harvest, and mother of Persephone, who with Pluto 
(Hades) ruled in the realm below of the dead. 

Poseidon, god of the sea when represented with a 
trident or fish, and of springs and rivers, when he is often 
given the form of a bull. He was also the god of 

Hestia, the virgin goddess of the hearth, who received 
the first offering at every feast. Represented as a draped 
and often veiled figure. 

The Children of Zeus 

Athena, the goddess of wisdom and of the arts and 
sciences. The special protectress of Athens. Generally 
represented in armour, with an owl or an aegis in which is 
set the head of a gorgon (which she slew, either by herself 
or with the help of Perseus). 

Apollo, the sun god (Phoebus), and the god of music and 
youth. He was also the lord of oracles, and was said 
to have been born on the island of Delos. He was 
represented in early days as a bearded man, but in later 
times as a very effeminate and degraded type. Attri- 
butes: a bow and lyre, or a branch of bay. 

Artemis, the goddess of wild nature, the virgin huntress, 
and also the goddess of the moon ; especially associated 
with Apollo. Attributes : a stag, lion, or other wild 
animal, and a bow and arrow, and sometimes a torch. 

Hermes, the messenger of the gods, and the giver of 
increase, especially of flocks and herds. Also the god of 
wayfarers, commerce, cunning, and theft, and of luck and 
treasure trove. Attributes : a caduceus (snake-wreathed 


wand), winged feet or sandals, a staff, a winged cap, and 
sometimes a purse. In early art he was represented as 
bearded, later as a beardless youth. His son was the 
god Pan, the protector of flocks and god of the country. 
Pan is generally represented with goats' legs and horns, 
holding pipes. 

Dionysus, or Bacchus, taken as an infant by Hermes 
to the nymphs of Nysa, who, with the help of Satyrs and 
Silenus, guarded his youth. The god of wine, the leader 
of the rout, and the patron of drama. Represented in art 
as a bearded man in rich drapery ; later as a youth, often 
effeminate in type. 

Ares, the god of war. Generally represented as an 
armed soldier, with torch and spear. 

Hephaestus, the god of fire, lame through being hurled 
into the sea by one of his parents. Represented with 
hammer, pincers, and smith's cap. 

Aphrodite, according to some myths the daughter of 
Zeus, and by others described as born of the sea foam. 
She is the goddess of love and of all feminine grace and 
beauty. In some of her forms she has a tortoise for a 
symbol, in others a goat. Until the fourth century she 
was represented as a draped figure, afterwards either 
draped or undraped. 

The Greeks held no fixed creed and dogma. They 
were lovers of proportion and harmony, and their con- 
ception of the soul was, to a large extent, aesthetic. 
" Virtue will be a kind of health and beauty and good 
habit of the soul, and vice will be a disease and deformity 
and sickness of it." They troubled themselves little with 
any definite beliefs as to a life after death, for Greek 
thought was controlled by intellect and reason, and halted 
on the threshold of a region where the spirit of man alone 
could penetrate. So the Greek was content with a vague 


and undefined belief that the spirits of the dead descended 
to Hades, the nether world, and, after purification, passed 
to the happy place where the souls of heroes dwelt. 

The dead were cremated or buried, and, in order that 
necessities should not be wanting during the journey to 
the other world, food, jewellery, and other articles were 
placed in the tombs. Armour was buried with the men, 
and mirrors with women, while a coin was placed between 
the lips as a fee to Charon, who would ferry the ghost 
over the river Styx. 

Athletic Festivals — Together with Greek religion, 
the national athletic festivals, or games, served to shape 
and mould Greek art. They were conceived, however, in 
a very different spirit from our modern athletics. To the 
Greek, with his worship of harmony and proportion, train- 
ing of body went hand in hand with training of soul : a 
good soul must dwell in a beautiful body, and athletic 
power was of the highest educational importance. 

The festivals were primarily religious in character, and 
were held in honour of the various gods to whom the 
athletes dedicated their strength. The temple, the prayer, 
the sacrifice, and the choral hymn were the background 
against which they were set. To compete in the games 
was a sign of special distinction, and the victor of any 
event brought great honour to his town and state. There 
was no mercenary motive involved, for the prize consisted 
of a wreath of olive or bay. Poetic recitations and 
musical competitions also formed part of the programme, 
and in this way aesthetic influences were added. The 
barriers between different states were broken down, a 
sacred truce was proclaimed, and a sense of unity pre- 
vailed. People had common interests and prayers, and 
a feeling of good-will and charity to each other. New 
friendships were made, and a renewal of old ones took 


place. The games fostered the ideals of fairness and 
honour, and excellence in athletics was on!)' won, " God 
helping, by cost and toil." 

The Greeks lifted these festivals into a high imagin- 
ative atmosphere, to which literature and art added their 
lustre. Style and grace in the contests were imperative. 
In order to have absolute freedom, the Greeks wore no 
clothes in the competitions, and it is easy to see how this 
fact influenced Greek art. The sculptors and painters 
had unlimited opportunities for studying the male form 
in its most perfect development, and they soon became 
past masters in its portrayal. The most famous festivals 
were the Olympic games, held in honour of Zeus, at 
Olympia, every fourth year ; the Pythian games at 
Delphi, in honour of Apollo, held every third year ; the 
Nemean games, held every second year in the vale of 
Nemea ; and the Isthmian games, held every fourth year 
under the presidency of Corinth. In later days the rise 
of professionalism robbed Greek games of much of their 
value, and they never again reached the high level 
that they held in the fifth century B.C. The traditional 
date of the founding of the Olympic games is the year 
Tj6 B.C. 

Art. Historic Outline 

Greek art can be divided broadly into the following 
periods : — 

1. Beginnings of Greek Art, 900-600 B.C. — Period 

of Oriental influence. Greece enters into relations 
with Egypt, 664-6 1 o B.C. Trade with Phoenicians 
brings Assyrian influence. Rude wooden and 
stone images of the gods. 

2. The Sixth Century or Archaic Period, 600-500 

B.C. — Rise of plastic art in marble and bronze. 


Schools of athletic sculpture at Argos and Sicyon. 
Doric style of architecture introduced into Greece, 
Sicily, and Magna Graecia ; Ionic style into Asia 

3. The Fifth Century, or great age of Literature 

and Art. (a) Period of Transition, 500-450 
B.C. — Persian wars. Rapid development of 
sculpture ; many masterpieces produced. Intro- 
duction of Ionic style of architecture into Greece. 
Sack of Acropolis, 480 B.C. Calamis, Pythagoras 
of Rhegium, and Myron. Perfection of archi- 
tecture and vase painting. 

(b) Period of Fulfilment, 450-400 B.C. — 
Great age of sculpture. Phidias, Polyclitus, Poly- 
gnotus, and Apollodorus. Dedication of Parthenon, 
438 B.C. Supremacy of Athens under Pericles. 

4. The Period of Late Fine Art, 400-320 B.C. — 

Scopas, Praxiteles, Lysippus, Zeuxis, and Apelles. 
Production of Attic tomb-stones and Sidon 
sarcophagi. Perfection of painting and terra- 
cottas. Introduction of Corinthian style of archi- 
tecture, ^.350 B.C. 

5. The Hellenistic Age, 320-100 B.C. — Death 

of Alexander the Great, 323 B.C. Spread of 
Hellenistic culture throughout the East. Schools 
of Rhodes and Pergamum. 

Architecture — The earliest form of Greek temple 
consisted of an open-air altar ; the second of a building 
in the form of cell roofed with overhanging stones ; the 
third was made of unbaked brick, with wooden columns 
and a wooden roof ; while as a final development, influenced 
by the Egyptian temple, came the famous stone buildings 
of the Doric and Ionic orders. 


A Doric temple consisted of three main parts : the 
interior chamber or cella, the vestibule or porch, and, at a 
later date, an outer colonnade. The pillars were orna- 
mented with sharply edged flutings ; they rose straight 
from the ground, and had no capitals or top blocks. The 
Ionic temple was built on the same plan, but usually had 
no colonnade, and instead was ornamented by a portico 
of pillars at one or both ends. Its columns were slender, 
and their flutings were blunted ; they rose from bases and 
had capitals ornamented with volutes^ or curved shapes 
like rams' horns. There was also a third form of building, 
the Corinthian temple, the columns of which had capitals 
decorated with acanthus leaves, but this was a later form 
chiefly used by the Romans. 

Greek temples emphasized the national love of lucidity 
and purity of style. Everything superfluous was removed 
from them, and only the essentials of noble architecture 
were left. But this harmony and apparent simplicity was 
the result of delicate and subtle calculation. Fergusson 
has remarked that the sensitiveness of a Greek's vision was 
equivalent to a new sense. This opinion was evoked by 
the results of some measurements of the Parthenon, which 
showed that any possibility of monotony or false effect in 
the building was avoided by a series of irregularities, un- 
noticeable in themselves, but of the most subtle archi- 
tectural importance. For example, corner stones were 
slightly enlarged, pillars were made to swell a little, mid- 
way between top and bottom ; platforms and flights of 
steps were imperceptibly curved ; and columns were of 
not quite equal height, and were separated by unequal 

Greek temples, like those of Egypt and Assyria, were 
not used as places of assembly for worshippers, but were 
intended as special shrines for the gods, and sometimes as 


treasuries. They were generally surrounded by sacred 
enclosures, containing lesser buildings, altars, and dedica- 
tory statues. Inside they were dim and mysterious, as 
the only light that could penetrate came through the main 
entrance, or by faint infiltration through thin slabs of 
marble in the roof 

The Greek built fine gymnasia for their athletic con- 
tests, open-air theatres, agorce, or open places of public 
assembly surrounded by colonnades, entrance gateways, or 
propylcea, and many lesser forms of buildings, but it is the 
temple that is the supreme triumph of Greek architecture. 
When building a temple, the Greek architect put on one 
side all transient thoughts and all reflections of everyday 
life, and concentrated his art on the expression of an 
eternal principle of life, the worship of an unseen god. His 
architecture is severe, intellectual, full of repose, and of an 
austere and serene beauty, and has been the ruling force 
in architectural design until the present day. 

Sculpture— Greek sculpture, as has already been 
stated, was the outcome of Greek religion, and owed much 
of its excellence to the importance the people attached to 
bodily perfection and the subsequent popularity of the 
national games. The country was rich in possession of 
beautiful marbles, of fine quality, particularly those from 
the islands of Paros and Naxos, and from the quarry of 
Pentelicus. The latter marble, which was used almost 
exclusively by the Attic sculptors, contained a certain 
amount of iron in its composition, which gave to temples 
and statues that had been exposed to the weather an 
exquisite golden tint. 

Sculpture was frequently painted, although no attempt 
was made to create the illusion of living form. A con- 
ventionalized scheme of colour was preferred, and marble 
statues were seldom completely painted, the colour being 


reserved instead for the details of the statue and apphed 
within strictly artistic lin:iits. Bronze statues were often 
gilded. Decorative temple sculpture, which was more fre- 
quently painted, falls into four principal groups: (i) The 
Doric frieze, consisting of alternate grooved blocks 
(triglyphs), and plain slabs (metopes), decorated with 
sculptured reliefs, the whole forming a frieze above the 
outer colonnade ; (2) the Ionic frieze, which decorated 
the top of the inner plain wall, and which consisted of an 
uninterrupted band of sculpture ; (3) the decorations of 
the pediments, or triangular gables, at each end of the 
temple ; (4) the acroteria, which were ornaments, or 
statues, placed on the roof of the temple, above the pedi- 
ments. The Parthenon is an example of a temple 
containing both the Doric and Ionic frieze. Primitive 
Greek statues were usually made of wood, but in later 
centuries bronze and marble were the chief materials used 
by Greek sculptors. There were also famous statues made 
with a wooden core, which was overlaid with gold and 
ivory, and had sometimes the addition of marble for the 
nude portions. The great statues of Zeus and Athena, 
by Phidias, were made in this way. 

In forming an estimate of Greek sculpture it must be 
borne in mind that original works are rare in comparison 
with copies. The Hermes of Praxiteles is the only known 
example of an original statue by one of the eight 
greatest of the Greek masters, and for the rest we are 
forced to be content with copies, either the few which 
are early or contemporary, or the vast majority which 
are inferior works of the Hellenistic or Graeco-Roman 
period.^ We have, however, a number of fine originals, 

^ As we have no knowledge of the exact part taken liy Phidias in the 
execution of the Parthenon sculptures, we cannot attribute any individual 
work to him. 


the authors of which are unknown, and also early 
statues which were evidently produced under the influ- 
ence of a great master's style. There is also much fine 
architectural sculpture still remaining. 

Even the fine originals and copies that have escaped 
destruction have often been half ruined by a process of 
so-called restoration, when treatment with acids has 
completely defaced the beauty of their surfaces. There 
are also a great number of statues produced in the 
Graeco- Roman age which did not profess to copy any 
one original, but instead to reproduce an earlier type of 
sculpture. These are often very cleverly executed and 
may easily deceive the amateur. The best comment on 
originals and copies, and one to be recommended to all 
who advance the opinion that Greek art is dull and 
insipid and lacking in individuality, is the reproductions 
on the opposite page, which speak for themselves. 

The following is a short sketch of the chief periods of 
Greek art and of the work of the most famous sculptors : — 

First and Second Periods 

The rapid development of Greek sculpture has no 
parallel in the history of art. Up to the beginning of 
the year 6oo B.C. votive figures showed only small re- 
semblance to the human form, but after that period a 
change soon made itself felt. The Oriental influence of 
Egypt and Assyria was gradually absorbed, and sculp- 
tures reminiscent of Eastern work, but original in 
character, were produced. The growing popularity of 
athletic contests led sculptors to a fresh observation of 
the human form and greatl}' influenced the schools of 
Argos and Sicyon. As a result of increased technical 
skill the figures of the gods and goddesses soon were 


- a. 
S u 

-. < 


made more attractive and life-like in appearance, to the 
delight of a people who believed that unless a statue 
were beautiful, the deity might not care to inhabit it. 

These early statues have not any very pronounced 
individualities, and it is often impossible to tell whether 
a certain type of male figure, which is frequently met 
with in early art, represents an athlete or the god 
Apollo. A smile that is often a grin is also character- 
istic of the figure sculpture of the sixth century, and 
probably represents the effort to give life or benignity 
to the face. Another characteristic is the way in which 
the eyes are often treated, for in the effort to give to 
them their true effect their lines were exaggerated, and 
were rendered in a staring and prominent manner. 
Towards the end of the sixth century some fine and 
dignified work was produced, somewhat rigid and 
severe in treatment, but holding the promise of beauty 
as yet unborn. An example of the sculpture of this 
time is found in the " Harpy Tomb " from Xanthus, 
in Lycia, which may be considered an early work by a 
Greek artist. It dates from about the year 520. B.C. 

Third Period 

W'ith the fifth century we come to the great period of 
Greek art and literature. The wars with the Persians 
had called out all the self-sacrifice, courage and endurance 
of the people and had united them in a tremendous effort 
to secure, not each his own personal triumph, but the 
triumph of Greece. It was an age when the people had 
a profound faith in their gods who had succoured and 
preserved them. Intellects were keen as swords arid 
minds were filled with a vision of a life of perfect harmony, 
free from all exaggeration, when body and soul should 


be developed for a common end. National aspiration 
was voiced by Plato in his prayer, " Give me beauty in 
the inward soul, and may the outer and inward man be 
at one."i 

The art of the fifth century was the expression of these 
ideals. It was calculated to illumine human thought and 
not merely to reflect the passing life that gave it birth. 
It contained an appeal, not for the moment, but for all 
time. All that was intrinsically worthy it sought to 
express with simplicity and truth. It was an impersonal 
art and followed the highest conception of a type rather 
than an actual human representation, Pliny tells us that 
until an athlete had been a victor three times his features 
were not represented in his votive statue, and those of 
the traditional type of athlete took their place, while in 
the same way the bust of Pericles, by Cresilas, shows 
rather the head of an ideal ruler than the actual portrait 
of the man. The so-called ideal types were of the 
greatest power and force, and were both minutely observed 
and highly differentiated, but they did not stoop to im- 
mortalize the transitory likeness of a single individual. 
Cicero tells us that Phidias " when he was making the 
statue of Zeus or of Athena did not derive his image from 
some individual, but within his own mind there was a 
perfect ideal of beauty, and gazing on this, and in con- 
templation of it, he guided the craft of his hand after its 

The spirit in which Greek art of this period was con- 
ceived is best illustrated by two quotations from Plato : — 
" Must it then be only with our poets that we insist they 
shall create for us the image of a noble morality, or 
among us create none ? Or shall we not keep guard over 
all the workers for the people and forbid them to make 

' Phadriis. Jowett's translation. Clarendon Press. 


what is ill-customed, and unrestrained and ungentle — 
either in likeness of living things, or in buildings, or in 
any other thing whatsoever that is made for the people ? 
And shall we not rather seek for workers who can trace 
the inner nature of all that may be sweetly schemed ; so 
that the young men, as living in a wholesome place, may be 
profited by everything, in work fairly wrought, may teach 
them through hearing and sight — as it were a breeze 
bringing health to them from places strong with life." ^ 

The second quotation is taken from a glorification of 
inspiration or the divine madness of the spirit. " The 
third kind is the madness of those who are possessed with 
the Muses ; which taking hold of a delicate and virgin 
soul, and there inspiring frenzy, awakens lyrical and all 
other numbers ; with these adorning the myriad actions 
of ancient heroes for the instruction of posterity. But 
he who, having no touch of the Muses' madness in 
his soul, comes to the door and thinks he will get into 
the temple by the help of art . . . he, I say ... is not 
admitted ; the sane man disappears and is nowhere when 
he enters into rivalry with the madman. The soul which 
has seen most of truth shall come to birth as a philosopher, 
or artist, or some musical and loving nature. Thus far I 
have been speaking of the beauty of the fourth and last 
kind of madness, which is imputed to him who, when he 
sees the beauty of the earth, is transported with the 
recollection of the true beauty : he would like to fly 
away, but he cannot ; he is like a bird fluttering and 
looking upward, and careless of the world below ; and he 
is therefore thought to be mad. And I have shown this 
of all inspirations to be the noblest and the highest."^ 

The first half of the century constitutes a transitional 

* Republic. Jowett's translation. Clarendon Press. 
^ Fhcedrus. Jowett's translation. Clarendon Press. 


period in sculpture, which links up the early sculpture of 
archaic form with the perfect work of Phidias. One of 
the earliest artistic centres at this time was the school of 
sculpture at iEgina. It produced such work as the 
pediment sculptures of the principal temple on the island, 
which are now in Munich (casts, British Museum). 
Recent excavations on the Acropolis have proved that 
an equally important early school must have existed at 
Athens, for the sculptures of the first temples have been 
found, either as they were thrown to the ground, or else 
walled up in the buildings erected during the rebuilding 
of the Acropolis. A great deal of the original colouring 
is still to be seen on many of these figures, and they show 
how the grin of the archaic heads has been modified and 
tempered to a smile of subtle sweetness. During this 
period the Greek sculptors gradually mastered the art of 
representing the human figure in a life-like manner, and 
we notice that for the first time in the history of art 
sculptured figures are no longer bound by the law of 
" frontality " (see page 44). 

This transitional style is represented by sculptures of 
exquisite grace and freshness and by certain masterpieces 
of such grave and unforgettable beauty that they stand 
alone in the history of art. Perhaps the most famous of 
these is the bronze figure of a charioteer, now at Delphi,^ 
while some of the figures from the pediments of the 
temple at Olympia show the same noble dignity. The 
so-called Ludovisi Throne, in the National Museum, 
Rome, also dates from this period, and many of the most 
beautiful of the Greek vase paintings. 

The most famous sculptors of this time were Pytha- 
goras of Rhegium, Calamis, and Myron of Athens, 
who were at the height of their powers between the years 

^ See frontispiece. 



480-440 B.C., that is, between the sack of the Acropolis 
and the eve of the dedication of the Parthenon. Un- 
fortunately all work of the two former sculptors has been 
lost, and we have not even a copy to echo, however 
faintly, the beauty of the lost originals. Pythagoras was 
a sculptor of Olympic victors, and suggestion has been 
made that the so-called Choiseul-Gouffier athlete in the 
British Museum is an old copy after one of his lost 
originals. Of the masterpieces of Calamis we read most 
of the statue of Sosandra, which stood on the side of the 
path that led up to the Acropolis and was famous for 
" the noble, unconscious smile " of the goddess. 

The work of Myron, who came from Eleutherae in 
BcEotia to work in Athens, is better known to us than 
that of his two contemporaries, for several marble versions 
of his famous statue of the Discobolus (Disk-thrower) 
have come down to us. The best copy perhaps is that 
in the Palazzo Lancelotti in Rome, and shows the athlete 
at the instant when he pauses with hand outstretched 
before the throw. The statue is a wonderful study of 
violent action, checked for an instant, and immortalized, 
and is a great technical achievement for so early a date. 
A second statue, which probably is a copy after another 
original, is the statue of Marsyas, a satyr, in the Lateran 
in Rome, representing him as he draws back suddenly at 
the sight of the goddess Athena. The great sculptors 
who followed Myron were Phidias and Polyclitus. 

Phidias, who was the greatest of the Greek 
sculptors, was born in Athens about the year 500 B.C. 
He is said to have studied painting, and to have learnt 
his sculptor's art at the school of Ageladas of Argos, 
famous for its bronze work and mastery over form. His 
youth was spent during the stirring times of the Persian 
wars. As a small boy he would hear of the great Greek 


victory at Marathon, and later it is very probable that he 
fought for his country at Salamis and Platea. Of this, 
however, there is no record. His first work for the 
Athenians was probably executed during the political 
supremacy of Cimon, which began about the year 470 B.C. 
It was at this time that he made the colossal bronze 
figure of Athena which stood on the Acropolis. So great 
was its height — some 70 feet including the pedestal — that 
from far out at sea the golden point of the goddess's spear 
could be seen by the sailors as it glittered in the sunshine. 

When the last of the Persians had been driven out of 
Greece the time was ripe for a paean of praise and thanks- 
giving, and to Phidias and Pericles we owe the immortal 
form in which it crystallized. Nothing was wanting, 
neither the inspiration, the organization, the money, nor 
the master hand and mind. The Athenians \aelded to 
Pericles the entire direction of his scheme ; the spending 
of the vast wealth of the Delian league, and the treasure 
that formed the spoil of the wars. The Acropolis hill, 
devastated by the Persians, was levelled and banked up, 
and in less than twenty years had become not only the 
splendid sanctuary of the gods, but also a national 
museum of Greek art at its greatest. 

There is no record of the exact part taken by Phidias 
in the work of the Acropolis. We know that the general 
conception and artistic scheme of the buildings were his 
and that he supervised and directed all the work for 
Pericles, but except for the great statue of Athena which 
the master made for the Parthenon, we do not know if 
any of the sculptures are by his hand. This is the 
account given by Plutarch. " As the buildings rose, stately 
in size and unsurpassed in form and grace, the workmen 
vied with each other that the quality of the work might 
be enhanced by its artistic beauty. Most wonderful of 



all was the rapidity of construction. Pheidias managed 
everything and was his (Pericles') overseer in all the work."^ 

Ictinus was the architect of the Parthenon, and the 
skill of many hands is displayed in its sculptures, which 
consisted of a frieze of over 520 feet in length, fifty 
colossal figures belonging to the pediments, and about 
ninety sculptured metopes. Needless to remark, no one 
man could have designed the whole of these works in detail, 
and their execution must have been entrusted to a number 
of workmen, but we know that the spirit of the work belongs 
to Phidias alone and that he may himself have undertaken 
the execution of some of the most important figures. 

The most famous works of Phidias were the statues of 
Athena Parthenos at Athens, already mentioned, and the 
statue of Zeus at Olympia. The former statue repre- 
sented the goddess as a majestic standing figure, fully 
armed, her hand resting upon a shield. It embodied the 
worship of the Athenians for the great goddess who 
symbolized the Attic genius, and to whose protection they 
attributed their victory. 

The statue of Zeus, the supreme god of all the 
Hellenes, was probably commissioned at a slightly later 
date, and represented the son of Cronos as seated on his 
throne, crowned with a wreath of olive. The story runs 
that on being asked what conception of the god was to 
be followed, the sculptor answered by repeating the lines 
of Homer : " So spake the son of Cronos and nodded his 
dark brow, and the ambrosial locks waved from the 
King's undying head, and he made great Olympus to 
quake." No work of art has received such supreme and 
reverent praise as was awarded to this statue. Quintilian 
spoke of it as one " whose beauty seems ... to have added 
something to the received religion, so adequate to the 

^ Select Passages from Ancunt irnters. Stewart Jones. Macmillan. 


divine nature is the grandeur of his work."^ This is the 
account of Dion Chrysostom. " If there be any mortal 
whatsoever that is heavy-laden in spirit, having suffered 
sorely many sorrows and calamities in his life, nor yet 
winning for himself sweet sleep ; even such a one, 
methinks, standing before the image of the god, would 
forget all things whatsoever in his mortal life were dire, 
and hard to be endured, so wonderfully hast thou, Phidias, 
conceived and wrought it, and such light and such grace 
shines upon it from thine art." 

These statues were of great height and were made of 
gold and ivory laid upon a wooden core, with the addition 
of marble for the nude portions. This may seem to us a 
curious method of sculpture, but we may be sure that no 
work of Phidias could be other than of great beauty. It 
must also be remembered that statues made in this 
manner were designed for the cellcB of the temples, where 
their richness would gain in effect by the subdued light. 

Both these masterpieces of Phidias' have perished, and 
also his early bronze statue of Athena and a third version 
of the goddess, known as the Lemnian Athena, which 
was also executed for the Acropolis, and was said by 
many to be the most beautiful of all. The general design 
of the Athena Parthenos is preserved for us in some 
small and very inferior versions in Athens and Madrid, 
and a copy of her shield known as the " Strangford 
shield " is in the British Museum. (The figure of a 
middle-aged, bald-headed man raising his sword above 
his head is said to represent the sculptor himself, and the 
whole design of the relief may be reminiscent of his share 
of the Persian wars.) A copy in Dresden and a fine 
marble head in Bologna are said to represent the Lemnian 
Athena, but there are no statues that preserve to us with 

^ Select Passages from Ancient Writers. Stewart Jones. Macmillan. 


any exactitude the design of the Zeus or the early bronze 
Athena. On the other hand, all representations of Zeus 
that date from the second half of the fifth century are to 
a great extent inspired by the version of Phidias, 

Clouds rest upon the last years of the master. Tradi- 
tion says that political enemies of Pericles, and others 
jealous of the great sculptor's fame, charged him with 
embezzling some of the gold that was entrusted to him 
for the making of the Athena Parthenos. This charge 
he was able to confute by weighing the gold armour of 
the goddess, which he had had the foresight to make 
detachable. He was also accused of profanation, having 
introduced portraits of himself and Pericles on the shield 
of the goddess. Other accounts state respectively that 
he was exiled from Athens, was poisoned, and was put to 
death in prison. It is impossible to test the truth of 
these statements, but we can only conclude that his life 
ended in trouble. Although all original works by his 
hand have been lost, his fame is immortalized in the 
Parthenon and its sculptures. From them we can learn the 
perfect harmony that existed between the inspiration and 
realization of his ideals, and his unrivalled genius in 
grouping and design. His art, like all the great art of 
Greece, can bear the test of mutilation, and even fragments 
are in themselves beautiful. Phidias would stand a dim, 
uncertain figure among the ranks of the past, were it not 
for the living spirit that quickens in his marbles. In the 
words of Cicero and of Plutarch — " There blooms upon 
them a certain freshness untouched by time, as if there 
dwelt in them an ever-animating spirit, a life that never 
grows old." " There dwelt in his mind a certain idea 
of surpassing beauty, the sight and intense contemplation 
of which directed his art and hand to produce a 
similitude of it." 


Polyclitus, who grew to be the head of the famous 
Argive school of sculpture, was ranked with Phidias as 
one of the two greatest sculptors of the age. He 
excelled in making statues of athletes, and in his statue 
of the Doryphorus (or Spear Bearer), which became 
known as the " Canon," he embodied his ideal of male 
proportions, an ideal which set the standard until the 
time of Lysippus. A heavy and mechanical marble 
copy of this statue is preserved in the Naples Museum, 
while in the British Museum we have a copy of the 
Diadumenus, a youth binding a sacred fillet round his 
brow before receiving the victor's wreath. A third 
statue by Polyclitus is represented by various figures of 
Amazons, the most famous of which is in the Vatican 

Fourth Period 

The fourth century witnessed a change in art. It 
has been called the psychological period of Greek Art, 
as opposed to the ethical period of the fifth century. 
The Greeks were no longer united against a common 
enemy, but were engaged in incessant wars with each 
other. A feeling for individuality had grown up as 
opposed to the former devotion to the State, and a 
greater luxury had taken the place of the former 
simplicity of living. Work was undertaken for in- 
dividuals rather than for the State, and although the 
people still worshipped their gods it was not with the 
old passion of faith. Whereas the deities were formerly 
represented as seated or standing, omnipotent and 
majestic, they were now for the first time depicted rather 
as human beings than as immortals, engaged in some 
action or conscious of the spectator. Models were used 
for their production, and the art of portraiture began 


to be practised. It must not be thought that these 
changes resulted in an art other than great. It is true 
that the splendid austerity of fifth century art had gone, 
never to be recaptured, but very fine work was still 
produced, work full of a mellow loveliness, and charged 
with an emotional force and a dramatic intensity of 
expression that illuminated, but never transgressed, the 
inherent Greek love of harmony and control. 

The most famous sculptors of the fourth century were 
Scopas, Praxiteles, and Lysippus. Scopas, who was 
perhaps the greatest of them, excelled in his power of 
depicting a passionate and fiery spirit. His work was 
dramatic and full of intensity, but was never contorted 
or theatrical. We do not know if any originals by his 
hand still exist. There is an antique Greek head placed 
on a statue of Meleager in the Medici Gardens, Rome, 
which may be by him, but is more probably a close 
study in his style, and there are also some heads from 
Tegea which, though much mutilated, bear the impress 
of his genius. We know that he was working on the 
tomb of Mausolus, Prince of Caria, in the year 351 B.C., 
but this work was shared by three other sculptors, and 
we cannot tell if any of the broken sculptures in the 
British Museum, which represent all that is left of this 
famous mausoleum, are the work of the master. One, a 
small relief of a charioteer, is so beautiful that we may 
well imagine this to be the case. The drum of a column 
from the temple of Ephesus, also in the British Museum, 
is either by him or shows his influence, and the beautiful 
statue of Demeter, in a small ante-room near by, could 
not have been produced had he not lived. 

The work of Praxiteles was more admired by the 
Greeks and Romans than that of any other sculptor. 
The result of this was that an enormous number of 


copies of his statues were made, and were it not for the 
discovery of the Hermes at Olympia, we should find it 
very difficult to make an exact estimate of his work. 
The Hermes was found buried under the earth on the 
spot where it fell nearly two thousand years ago. It is 
the only instance of a Greek original straight from the 
hand of an identified master, and although it was con- 
sidered an inferior work of Praxiteles, it reveals all his 
power of transmitting to marble a sensuous beauty and 
grace. The most famous copies of lost originals by 
Praxiteles are the Aphrodite of Cnidus, the " Apollo 
with the lizard," at the Vatican, and the Satyr or Faun 
in the Capitoline Museum. All these works, however, 
betray an over-sweetness which would not have been 
found in the originals. 

Lysippus was the most prolific of the Greek sculp- 
tors. He is said to have produced over a thousand works, 
but as they were almost all of bronze, we have a 
reason for the disappearance of so large a number. He 
began life as a bronze founder, but soon rose to be the 
chief genius of the Sicyonian school. His work was the 
result of a close study of nature, combined with a great 
reverence for the work of the masters that had gone 
before him. In his own words, he was said to have 
reproduced men " not as they are, but as they appear to 
the eye," which represents an extraordinarily modern 
point of view. His work was characterized by a strength 
and severity of type which is in strong contrast to the 
more sensuous charms of the sculpture of Praxiteles. 
Lysippus was the favourite sculptor of Alexander the 
Great, whom he served in the latter part of his life, and 
in this way he stands between the older art of Greece 
and the newer art of the Hellenistic period. He made 
many portraits of the emperor, whose head became a type 


for contemporary sculpture. We are able to form an 
estimate of the work of Lysippus by the recent discovery 
of the fine statue of Agias at Delphi. The original was 
no doubt cast in bronze, but this version appears to be a 
marble replica, which, if not by the master's hand, was 
probably executed in his workshop under his direct 
supervision. A copy of his statue of the Apoxyomenus, 
or man with a scraper, which constituted the sculptor's 
canon of art, is one of the treasures of the Vatican, It 
shows an athlete in the act of scraping off the sand and 
oil after an athletic contest. Lysippus executed statues 
that varied in height from sixty feet to several inches, 
A small and very beautiful bronze statuette in the British 
Museum, representing a seated figure, may be from his 

Among fine fourth century work, two different branches 
of the sculptor's art may be mentioned. One is repre- 
sented by a series of marble sarcophagi found at Sidon, 
which are probably the work of a pupil of Lysippus, and 
which show, in one instance, the hunting scenes of 
Alexander ; the other by some gravestones dug up in 
the old cemetery at Athens, and decorated with dignified 
and beautiful figures that point to their being the work 
of craftsmen who had been trained in the school of the 

Fifth Period 

With the conquests of Alexander, Greek art acquired 
new characteristics. Wherever the great general con- 
quered an ancient city or established a new one, there he 
left Greek sculptors and craftsmen behind him. In this 
way the art of Greece, which had already begun to be 
known in other countries, was spread still further to far 


distant quarters of the globe, where it grew to be a 
powerful influence on the local schools of art. As 
examples of work influenced in this way, we have the 
Buddhist sculptures of North India and China, and the 
Graeco-Egyptian heads from Alexandria. 

These new and foreign influences also reacted upon 
Greek art itself. It became more cosmopolitan. Statues 
full of charm and sweetness were produced, but the 
old characteristics of repose, strength, and dignity had 
vanished. Sometimes we find them partially recap- 
tured, as, for example, in such fine statues as the 
Aphrodite of Melos, known as Venus of Milo (probably 
a work of the second century B.C.), and the Victory of 
Samothrace, which was set up to commemorate a victory 
at sea in the }'ear 306 B.C., and which is also preserved 
in the Louvre. But these works are only echoes of 
former ideals, and the most important centres of art 
during the Hellenistic age were the schools of Pergamum 
in Asia ]\Iinor and the island of Rhodes. These schools 
produced works which, though full of strength and vigour, 
were theatrical and sensational in type, and lacked all 
feeling of repose, as is shown in the famous altar of 
Pergamum, now in Berlin, and in such figures as the 
Laocoon in Rome and the Farnese Bull at Naples. A 
number of religious sculptures were produced by these 
schools, but we find in them no assurance of faith, but 
rather an interested attempt to reconstruct old myths. 

During the Hellenistic age many fine portrait busts 
were produced. Up to this time portrait sculptures were 
largely idealistic in character, and were generally repre- 
sented by whole-length figures or else by hcnns, which 
were plain, squarely-shaped pillars with the tops carved 
into the forms of heads. The Hellenistic portraits, on 
the other hand, generally took the form of busts, and 





7. fa 
i O 

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5 ft. 

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g c s 

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i o 


were works of great vigour and realism, dominated by 
the individuality of the subject (see Plate XVI.). 

The Greek colony of Alexandria, founded in 332 B.C., 
also possessed a flourishing school of art. The sculptured 
reliefs that were characteristic of this school reflected 
the pastoral poetry that was then popular, and were 
something in the nature of genre pictures in stone, while 
a second form of art that became popular there was 
the naturalistic sculpture of children, until then seldom 

Mention must also be made of the Hellenic kingdom 
of the Seleucids, the Macedonian dynasty which ruled 
in Syria, Mesopotamia, and the surrounding countries after 
the death of Alexander. Their capital of Seleukia, built 
where the Tigris and Euphrates converged, has been 
called " the descendant of ancient Babylon and the 
precursor of Baghdad." Here the Seleucids ruled from 
the year 312 B.C. until after the year 130 B.C., and here 
Greek art and the art of the East met. In the words of 
Miss Gertrude Bell : " In the flux and reflux of civilization, 
Seleukia has been fixed upon as the crucible into which 
East and West alike threw their gold — the fertile mint 
from which a coinage of artistic forms and conceptions 
flowed to the furthest limits of Asia and Europe." A 
second great centre of Graeco-Oriental culture wasAntioch, 
the later capital of the Seleucid kingdom of Syria, and 
one of the most famous cities of the Near East. As an 
example of the art produced during this period, we have 
the fine bust of Antiochus III., the greatest of the Seleucids, 
which is now in the Louvre. 

The account of the influence of Greek sculpture upon 
the art of the Romans will be found in the next lesson. 
It was this Graeco-Roman art which produced most of the 
copies and imitations of ancient statues, including such 


affected and theatrical works as the Medici Venus of the 
Uffizi and the Apollo Belvedere of the Vatican. 

Painting — -The ancient classic writers have much to 
say on the beauty of Greek painting, but all traces of the 
great work that was produced have disappeared. Beyond 
a few scattered specimens of minor work, we have to rely 
for our knowledge on what information we can get from 
three sources. These are the painted Greek vases and 
stelai (tombstones), the Graeco-Roman and Etruscan wall 
paintings, and the portraits on Egyptian mummy cases, 
which chiefly date from Roman times. From these 
sources we have to form an estimate of what must have 
been a very great art. 

We know that a school of painting was in full vigour 
in Ionia towards the end of the eighth century B.C., and 
that some fine painted sarcophagi were produced there 
between the years 600-500 B.C. (a fine example is in the 
British Museum) ; but it was not until the fifth century 
that we hear of the first great Greek painter, Polygnotos. 
He executed large wall paintings of a monumental char- 
acter, such as the " Painted Porch " at Athens and the 
loggia at Delphi, and we are told that he freed art from its 
ancient rigidity and in this way gave the lead to the 
sculptors. His work probably consisted in line drawings, 
washed in with colour, and there is no doubt that it had 
the splendid qualities that marked the art of this age. 
A second great painter, who followed Polygnotos, was 
Apollodorus, who introduced effects of light and shade, 
and aimed at painting men " as they seemed to be." 

During the fourth century a great advance in technique 
and chiaroscuro was shown, and easel painting became 
popular. The great painters of this period were Zeuxis 
(420-380 B.C.), who came from Heraclea, a Greek colony 
in South Italy, and settled in Ephesus ; and Apelles, 


probably an Ionian-Greek from Asia Minor, who became 
the favourite painter of Alexander. They painted both 
historical and mythological subjects, and their work no 
doubt reflected the ideals of the day, showing the same 
characteristics that were evident in contemporary sculpture. 
There were many other famous Greek painters, but very 
little is known of them. \ 

Vase Painting — The great majority of painted Greek 
vases have been found in the tombs, although a certain 
number have been discovered, in a more or less broken 
condition, on temple sites. The latter were no doubt 
used as votive offerings for the gods, but there is more 
uncertainty as to the purpose for which the tomb vases 
were made. Some were evidently designed for funeral 
purposes only, and having been filled with fragrant per- 
fume and sweet oil and placed near the corpse, were 
then buried in the tomb for use in a future existence. 
Others again were objects of household use, or were given 
as presents or as prizes in the Pan-Athenaic games. 

Among the most familiar types of Greek vases are the 
anipliora, or double-handed vase, for water or for storing 
food or wine ; the krater, or mixing bowl ; the kylix, or 
shallow two-handled goblet ; and the lekyt/ios, or tall vase 
with a narrow neck, used for holding oil. 

The early vases, dating from the end of the seventh 
and a greater part of the sixth century B.C., were painted 
with black figures on a red or cream-coloured ground. 
The subjects were generally drawn from mythology and 
the epic poets. Towards the end of the sixth century 
new methods were introduced, and during the fifth century 
the figures were left to stand out in the natural red colour 
of the clay, against a black glazed background, or were 
painted in polychrome, against a white background. The 
subjects were varied, and reflected every phase of Attic 


life ; the decoration showed a highly developed sense of 
composition and linear design, and the art reached the 
height of its perfection. The decay of the Athenian 
potteries took place at the close of the fifth century, and 
the production of red-figure vases passed to other places, 
especially to the Greek colonies in Southern Italy and 
Sicily. The art never again reached its former high 
standard of beauty. 

Terra-cottas — The making of terra-cotta statuettes 
was an art of very early origin in Greece, and during the 
fourth and third centuries B.C. attained great popularity. 
Numberless small statuettes were produced and were 
buried in the tombs for the use of the dead, in place of 
more elaborate offerings, or else perhaps were put there 
as votive offerings for the gods. This habit became so 
popular that it seems probable that the statuettes came 
to be regarded as a usual form of grave furniture, without 
any particular religious significance. The cemeteries of 
Tanagra in Boeotia, as well as many others in different 
parts of Greece, have yielded an immense number of 
these statuettes. They are delicately coloured, full of 
charm and grace, and are strongly reminiscent of the 
style of Praxiteles. It is possible that they were some- 
times used as household ornaments before their burial in 
the tombs, or else as votive offerings to be placed in 
shrines. They are very varied in subject, and scenes 
and figures from everyday life and figures of deities are 
frequently met with. 

Coins and engraved gems must also be mentioned, 
as under the skilful hands of the Greeks their production 
was raised to a fine art, testified to by the many beautiful 
specimens preserved in the national museums. 



" The faithful, immortal, anointed, adored, 
Dear city of men, without master or lord, 
Fair fortress and fostress of sons born free. 
Who stand in her sight and in thine, O Sun, 
Slaves of no man, subjects of none. 
A wonder enthroned on the hills to the sea, 
A maiden crowned with a fourfold glory. 
That none from the pride of her head may rend ; 
Violet and olive-leaf, purple and hoary, 
Song-wreath and story, the fairest of fame. 
Flowers that winter can blast not nor bend, 
A light upon earth as the sun's own flame, 
A name as his name — 
Athens, a praise without end." 

Swinburne, Erechtheus. 


Part I. — Elementary Lesson in Story Form 

INTRODUCTION— Last Lesson— A time came when the 
Greeks were no longer the greatest nation in the world. Their 
country was conquered by the Romans, a people who lived in 
Italy and who became as powerful as the Greeks had been, and 
established a great empire that stretched from Great Britain to 
Mesopotamia. This is a story about a Roman boy. 

I. The Portrait Bust — One morning there was much 
bustle and confusion in a sculptor's workshop in Rome. 
The sculptor himself was heated and busy, giving orders 
to his assistant, and superintending the work of his son, 
who was occupied in putting the room into something like 
order. On every side there were blocks of stone and 
marble ; chisels and hammers lay in confusion among 
chippings of stone and marble dust, while various statues, 
some only roughly hewn, and others nearing completion, 
stood about the shed. The sunshine streamed in at the 
open door and windows, and the dust that rose in clouds 
with the boy's vigorous brushing seemed to quiver and 
dance in the rays of sunlight that fell in broad strips 
across the threshold. 

" By Jupiter, but it is hot ! " exclaimed the sculptor, 
mopping his brow, and turning to the young Greek who 
helped him in his work. " You get on with your copy of 
my old Greek statue in case it may take the fancy of our 
visitor when he arrives ; leave me and the boy to finish 



the rest." The father and son dragged the sculptures 
about, and had hardly got several cleverly executed 
portrait busts into a good position before a clatter of 
wheels was heard outside and a carriage was pulled up by 
its driver so suddenly that the horses were nearly pulled 
back on their haunches. Throwing the reins to a servant, 
a young man leapt to the ground and entered the shop. 
He was Titus, the son of a famous Roman general called 
Vespasian, and a favourite of the Emperor himself, in whose 
palace he lived. 

The sculptor and his son and the young Greek bowed 
low before Titus while he began to examine the sculptures. 
" I have heard of your skill," he said to the sculptor, 
" and I have come to see for myself what you can do. 
If your work pleases me you shall make my portrait ; 
now tell me which is your work, and which is the work 
of your young Greek here, for in these days the work 
of Greek and Roman is so alike that it is hard to tell 
one from the other." The sculptor pointed out the 
copies of famous Greek statues made by his assistant ; 
" but here you have my own work," he added proudly, 
pointing to the row of portrait busts. " Ah, the portraits," 
answered the young soldier, examining them carefully, 
" Yes, this is the art in which we Romans excel. I see 
that you have great talent. You shall start work upon 
my portrait to-morrow." 

The sculptor beamed with pleasure and again bowed 
low. With a commission from Titus his way was indeed 
made. In the meantime the sculptor's son had been 
making himself useful, moving the sculptures into a good 
light and placing a chair for Titus when necessary, while 
his eyes rested with undisguised admiration upon the 
fine visitor, who was a popular and well-known member 
of the Emperor's household. The boy himself was an 


attractive figure, with his open, honest face, bright eyes 
and sturdy limbs, and the young soldier glanced keenly 
at him several times. What are you going to do with 
yourself?" he asked him suddenly; "are you going to 
be a sculptor like your father?" The boy shook his 
head. " I want to travel and see the world," he said 
eagerly. '* Then you will just do for me," answered 
Titus, looking at him kindly. " I am off directly to 
fight in our distant provinces, and I need a new boy 
among my personal servants. I like the look of you ; 
will you come?" The boy flushed crimson with surprise 
and delight, and the father bowed his thanks at the 
honour afforded to his son, although in his heart he was 
filled with sorrow at the thought of losing him. 

Soon after the visitor took his leave, and the next day 
a block of marble, and clay for a first model, were sent up 
to the palace and the sculptor began to make the portrait 
of Titus. Each day the work was continued, until the 
head was finished, and a second Titus lived in the marble, 
a Titus with the same low and prematurely lined brow, the 
same full curved lips, and the same short, thick, curly hair. 

2. Britain — The day came when Titus set off with 
his legion to serve in the provinces, and with him went 
the sculptor's son, sad at parting with his parents, yet 
wild with excitement at the thought of the adventures 
that lay before him. Then followed months of journey- 
ings, long marches and nights under the stars, and 
intervals of service in different countries, until at last a 
time came when the legion was ordered to Britain, a 
wild and remote island of which the boy had sometimes 
heard soldiers speak. 

It was a cold and windy day when the soldiers set 
sail for the island. Their boats were tossed by the wind, 
and the boy was drenched to the skin with the flying 


spray, but though he sat numb and cold, huddled up in 
a corner, he knew that as a Roman he must be hardy and 
brave and not complain. At last the shores of Britain 
came in sight. All that the boy could see through the 
driving rain was a line of white cliffs, while the waves 
tossed and broke upon the shores, retreating with a long 
low rattle of pebbles in their wake. As soon as the boats 
were near enough to shore, the Roman soldiers leapt into 
the sea and waded to land. There were strange men on 
the shore, at whom the boy gazed with interest. 
Instead of wearing bright shining armour, helmets with 
plumes, and gleaming breast-plates, and carrying shining 
shields and sharply-pointed spears, as the Romans did, 
these strange Britons, who were strong and hardy-looking 
men with long hair and beards, wore short woven tunics 
and carried roughly made spears, shields, and bows. The 
Britons looked with distrust at the newcomers, but did 
not molest them, for they knew that the Romans were 
the masters of the southern part of the country and they 
dare not rebel or they would have been killed. 

Then followed long months on the island. Wherever 
the master v/ent the boy had to follow. Sometimes they 
passed months in one Roman town, sometimes in 
another. Sometimes they had to march north, where the 
country was wild and rugged, and where they went in 
deadly fear of their lives, for the north of Britain had not 
been won as the south had been, and there were not only 
enemies, but wild beasts on every hand. The Romans 
sheltered in small military camps, and in the long 
evenings the boy would sit by the fire hugging his knees, 
listening to the howling of the wolves outside and the 
moaning of the wind round the walls and towers, and he 
would wonder if he would ever see again the sunny skies 
of his beloved Italy, and the shrines and temples of 


Rome. Sometimes, when the time hung heavily, he 
would get pieces of stone, and chip and carve them into 
figures of men and animals, in the way his father had 
shown to him, and he would try also to teach a British 
youth, a slave and camp servant, to do the same. The 
things that they made were very rough and rude, but 
they served to pass the time and kept the boys amused. 

3. The Conquest of Judea — The years passed, and 
the boy grew tall and strong. He still served his master, 
Titus, who was very fond of him and liked to have him 
near. Titus himself had won fame by his prowess as a 
soldier, and one day the order came that he was to travel 
with his legion to other parts of the Empire. So they 
left the cold northern shores of Britain behind them, and 
following the great Roman roads they came to other 
countries, where they served until Titus was ordered to 
Judea, to join his father Vespasian, the famous Roman 
general, and help him to quell the insurrection of the 
Jews. But they had not been long in Judea before the 
Roman Emperor died, and Vespasian was chosen to be 
emperor in his place. This meant that he had to leave 
Judea and fulfil his duties as Emperor elsewhere. So 
Titus was left as the head of the army, to finish the 
conquest of the Jews by himself He decided to march 
upon Jerusalem, the capital of the country, and soon the 
Roman army was encamped under the walls of the town, 
which stood high on a hill above them, defended on three 
sides by impregnable rocks. 

The night before the assault Titus strode up and down 
before his camp fire, deep in thought, and busy planning 
the next day's assault. His generals came and went, 
consulting with him as to the best plan of attack, while by 
the door of his master's tent the boy polished the shining 
armour of Titus and his bright spear and shield. He 


felt sorry for the Jews. He wished that Titus would 
spare them, but he knew that the Romans' ideal was to 
have a great empire and that they would never allow 
their subjects to rebel. 

Night fell, and the clamour of the camp died away. 
The glow of the fires lit up the inanimate figures of the 
soldiers, stretched on the ground, sleeping heavily. The 
watchmen passed to and fro, their steady tread breaking 
the stillness. Here and there in the town above a light 
burnt. The boy slept. 

The camp was astir with the dawn, and in the 
early morning the siege began. But the Jews fought 
stubbornly, and the task of Titus was no easy one. 
Week after week passed, and first one and then another 
of the city's defences were taken. The poor Jews suffered 
terribly, for they had hardly any food, and each day the 
great stones, hurled from Roman catapults, battered down 
a fresh part of their walls. At last the day came when 
the greater number of the Jews felt they could hold out 
no longer. They sent a message to Titus asking him if 
he would allow them to leave the city in safety, and this 
he did, as he did not wish to hurt them. But inside the 
walls of the Temple of Solomon there were other Jews 
who refused to surrender, so the Roman soldiers threw 
burning brands over the walls, and soon a great flame 
shot up, and some of the Jews escaped, and some died 
fighting, and the capture of the city was complete. 

The Roman soldiers rushed into the burning temple 
and dragged from the flames the golden candlestick with 
its seven branches, which had been carried by the children 
of Israel through the wilderness. The victorious army 
bore their treasure back with them to Italy, and the 
soldiers raised it high on their shoulders when they 
entered Rome. The citizens carried it to a resting-place 


in one of the great Roman temples, while the air rang 
with the blasts of trumpets and the shouts of the people 
as they welcomed Titus, the darling of the army, and his 
victorious soldiers. 

The Colosseum — You can imagine how glad the boy 
was to see his parents again. When they first saw him 
they could hardly recognize him, for he had grown so big 
and strong and was so bronzed and handsome. What 
stories he had to tell them ! They were never tired 
of hearing of his adventures in Britain and Judea, 
although they too felt sorry for the poor Jews, who had 
lost their beautiful city and their temple and golden 

A great number of the Jews who had been taken 
prisoner and brought back to Rome were now set to 
work upon building a huge amphitheatre or oval building 
lined with seats, open to the air above, and with a big 
space in the middle where fights were to take place. 
The Emperor Vespasian had commanded the building to 
be erected, and he and his son Titus, who now shared 
with his father the task of governing the great Roman 
Empire, used often to drive there in their carriages and 
watch how the work was progressing. It was such an 
immense and massive building that it took many years to 
erect. Before it was finished the Emperor Vespasian had 
died, and when it was opened Titus was the Emperor who 
took his place on the marble throne under the silken 
canopy. When he sat down, and the shouting that 
greeted his entrance had died away, what a sight met his 
eyes ! All around him, tier upon tier, were tens of 
thousands of Roman citizens, dressed in their best for the 
great occasion. Up above, on the roof of the galler)', 
numbers of sailors swayed to and fro the great striped 
silk awning that sheltered the people from the burning 




sun, while the air was full of the perfume of scented 
water, which was sprayed from the walls. But what was 
to happen in the arena, the open space in the centre of 
the building ? What had all these people come to see? 
They had come to see fights, fights of animals and fights 
of men, and although most of the Romans loved to see 
such cruel sport, there were some among them who hated 
it, and the boy, the servant of the Emperor, was one of the 
first to slip away, vowing that no one, not even his royal 
master, would make him witness such sights again. 

So the boy wandered about the deserted streets outside, 
while from within the roar of the lions, and the shouts of 
the great crowd, half mad with excitement, rose and fell 
continually, now echoing like thunder and then suddenly 
checked for a tense and sickening moment of silence. 
When the show was finished for the day, the crowd burst 
from the huge building like a tide, the people fighting 
and scrambling as they went for the food that was being 
distributed on every hand by order of the Emperor Titus, 
who wished to please the people, and provide a fitting 
ending to the great day. 

5. The Arch of Titus — There was another building 
in which the Emperor took a great interest, and this was 
a big triumphal arch which was being erected by the 
Romans in his honour, and in memory of the capture of 
Jerusalem. But when he stood before it, watching the 
men as they set stone on stone, he knew that he would 
never live to see it finished. He was not yet forty, but 
he felt a fatal illness creeping upon him, and it was not 
he but his servant who saw the completion and the 
solemn dedication of the arch. It was the boy, now a 
strong and vigorous man, who looked on the carved 
reliefs that decorated it, and saw the figures of the 
triumphant citizens bearing the golden candlestick, and of 



Titus, seated in his triumphal car, and crowned with laurel 
by the goddess of Victory. 

Notes on the Story — The boy and his actions are imaginary 
throughout. Busts of Titus are in the British Museum and the 
Vatican. Paragraph 2. — Imaginary. Titus served both in Britain 
and Gaul. Paragraph 3. — Capture of Jerusalem by Titus, 71 a.d. 
Camp scene imaginary. A full description of the siege and of the 
triumph held on the return of the army to Rome can be found in 
Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews. The writer was an eye-witness of 
the scenes. The Colosseum was opened in the year 80 A.D. Death 
of Titus, 81 A.D. 

The destruction of Pompeii took place in the year 79 A.D. It could 
be introduced into the story, and would serve excellently as an 
introduction to photographs of the excavations, but there is no space 
in which to include it here. 

Titus, who was born in the year 40 A.D., was of a kindly disposi- 
tion, but was impulsive and luxurious in his habits. He showed 
unusual clemency for a Roman during the siege and capture of 
Jerusalem, and was greatly beloved by the army and also by the 
Roman people after his accession. His reign was one of great 
extravagance, and at his death he left the Imperial exchequer in a 
greatly reduced condition. 

Part II. — Additional Material for 
Advanced Lessons only 

History, Civilization, Empire, etc. 

Period of Kings . . B.C. 753-509. 

Period of Republic . . B.C. 509-27. 

Period of Empire . . B.C. 27-A.D. 305. 

The small city-state of Rome was founded by the 
Latins, a people who occupied the whole region south 
of the Tiber, and by the Sabines, who lived among 
the hills near by. These differing tribes of the same 
race built a common market-place or forum, and be- 
came one people. They steadily grew in power, and 


not only conquered the entire Italian peninsula, but 
founded the vast Roman empire which reached its 
furthest limits under the Emperor Trajan (98-117 A.D.), 
when Roman rule was extended to such distant outposts 
as Britain, North Germany, Gibraltar and North Africa 
in the West, and Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Armenia, 
Syria and Egypt in the East. The heart of this great 
system was Rome itself, and from it the great Roman 
roads spread out, leading to the farthest limits of the 
■ Empire and carrying with them the civilization and 
dominion of the great Roman people. 

These Romans were a hardy, self-confident race, whose 
strenuous and practical character was produced by 
continual warfare. It is recorded that the Temple of 
Janus in Rome, which was only closed in times of peace, 
stood open for a period of six hundred and fifty years 
(from Numa to Augustus), except during a short interval 
between the first and second Punic wars. 

The difference between the Greeks and Romans has 
been well described by Mommsen. " That Hellenic 
character which sacrificed the whole to its individual 
elements, the nation to the single state, and the single 
state to the citizen ; whose ideal of life was the beautiful 
and the good, and only too often the pleasure of idleness ; 
whose political development consisted in intensifying 
the original individualism of the several centres, and 
subsequently led to the internal dissolution of the 
authority of the State ; whose view of religion first 
invested the gods with human attributes and then denied 
their existence ; which gave full play to the limbs in the 
sports of the naked youth, and gave free scope to thought 
in all its grandeur and in all its awfulness ; and that 
Roman character, which solemnly bound the son to 
reverence the father, the citizen to reverence the rules, 


and all to reverence the gods ; which required nothing and 
honoured nothing but the useful act, and compelled every 
citizen to fill up every moment of his life with unceasing 
work ; which made it a dut\' even in a boy to modestly 
cover the body, which deemed every citizen a bad 
citizen who wished to be different from his fellows ; 
which viewed the State as all in all, and a desire for the 
State's extension as the only aspiration not liable to 
censure." ^ 

During the third century A.D. the power of Rome 
began to wane, although, during the reign of Dio- 
cletian, the glories of the Empire were for a time 
revived. In the fourth century the Empire was 
divided by Theodosius into the empires of the East and 
West. The history of the Eastern or Byzantine Empire 
will be described in the next lesson. In the West, 
Ravenna became the Imperial residence in 404 A.D., 
while a series of disasters ensued in the fifth century. 
The invasions by northern Germanic tribes, who were 
sweeping like a tide over the Western Empire, culminated 
in Italy in 410 A.D., when Rome was sacked by Alaric 
the Goth. In 455 A.D. the city was sacked once more, 
this time by Gaiseric, King of the Vandals, after which it 
stood empty for forty days. Theodoric the Ostrogoth 
reigned in Italy from the years 493-526 A.D., and after his 
death, from the year 536-552, a continual warfare raged 
between the Goths and the Byzantine armies of Justinian. 
In the year 552 Rome was recaptured by Xarses for 
Justinian, and shortly afterwards the entire peninsula 
became part of the East Roman or Byzantine empire. 

^ The History of Rome. Bentley. 


Main Factors in Roman Civilization and Art 

A. Etruscan— The Etruscans were a branch of the 
ancient ^gean race. They settled in Italy about the 
year 1000 B.C., over-ran the region of modern Tuscany, 
which became known by the name of Etruria, and also 
conquered Umbria, the districts bordering on Eatium, and 
certain tracts of country in the south of the Peninsula. 
Little is known of the Etruscans, either of their origin 
or history. They seem to have had no literature, and 
numerous inscriptions, chiefly found in the tombs, are all 
that is known of their language. Their religion seems to 
have contained a strong .^gean element, and to have 
been modified by the varying beliefs of the people with 
whom they came in contact, for although the Etruscans 
were probably a rich and rather stupid land-owning race, 
there were also many traders among their number, who 
introduced foreign ideas to Etruria. The chief Etruscan 
god was probably Tinia or Tina, the wielder of the 
thunderbolt, who was worshipped, in association with two 
goddesses, in all Etruscan cities. 

Etruscan art was composed of several different elements. 
In the work of the earliest period, dating from about 
900-800 B.C., the influence of the art of the local 
indigenous peoples inhabiting the Peninsula is apparent. 
During the years 800-600 B.C. Etruscan metal work 
showed a marked improvement, while the presence of 
early Greek vases in the tombs testifies to the beginning 
of Etruscan and Greek intercourse. This intercourse had 
a very great effect upon Etruscan art. Ionian Greeks 
came to settle in the south of Italy at an early date, and 
their Etruscan neighbours learnt much from them, largely 
through the commercial relations established between the 
two nations. 


Etruscan art reached its height during the years 
600-300 B.C. It was still markedly Greek in character, 
although the scarabs, carved ostrich eggs, and objects 
from the Egyptian delta which have been found in the 
tombs of this period show that an infiltration of Eastern, 
as well as Greek influences, must have taken place. The 
Etruscans had a strong love of realism in art. This 
showed itself in the portrait work, which is the most note- 
worthy feature of Etruscan art, a feature which gained a 
full expression owing to the funeral customs of the people. 
One of these customs, which was probably derived from 
the East, consisted at first in shaping the jar for the ashes 
into a rough semblance of the deceased. Gradually the 
idea of a vase or urn was lost, and instead a small 
receptacle was used for the ashes, and was crowned with 
either a bust of the deceased or his seated figure. A still 
more popular form was that of a sarcophagus, either small 
or large, upon which a figure or figures were placed in a 
reclining position. A characteristic example of Etruscan 
art is the large sarcophagus from Cervetri, dating from 
about the year 500 B.C., and now preserved in the British 
Museum. There are also some beautiful wall paintings 
in the tombs which date from this period, and are 
strongly Greek in character, while dating from the fifth 
century we have some very fine examples of gold 
jewellery and many good bronzes. 

Architectural remains consist almost entirely of walls 
and gates to cities and tombs, and the foundations and 
terra-cotta sculptures and enrichments of several temples. 
In the year 294 B.C. the chief Etruscan towns surrendered 
to Rome, and towards the end of the third century B.C. 
Etruscan civilization was merged into that of the all- 
conquering Roman people, and the Etruscans ceased to 
be an independent race. 


B. Greek — Greek influence, already an important 
factor in Etruscan art, exerted an independent and 
powerful influence also upon the art of the Romans. 
From very early times the dwellers on the Tiber had 
been familiar with the arts of Greece, for Greek colonies 
bordered Latium on the south, and Greek wares had been 
dispersed by the Carthaginians. Pliny tells us that in 
the year 496 B.C. two Greek artists, Damophilus and 
Gorgasus, helped in the decoration of a temple near the 
Circus Maximus, while Livy, writing of 186 B.C., speaks 
of Greek artists fetched from their native lands to prepare 
the festivals and games decreed by Roman generals. 

The story of the conquest of Greece by Rome is 
illustrated by a series of pictures, tragic to all lovers of 
art, in which victorious Roman generals tore down the 
statues from the shrines and the decorations from the 
temples and public buildings, and bore them back to 
Rome, not as objects of special beauty, but as symbols of 
victory and the loot of war. In the life of Paulus ^Emilius, 
Plutarch describes the return of the victorious general 
from Greece in the year 168 B.C. and the festivities that 
took place in Rome in his honour. " The triumph took 
up three days. On the first, which was scarcely sufficient 
for the Show, were exhibited the images, paintings, and 
colossal statues taken from the enemy, and now carried 
in two hundred and fifty waggons." Before this date 
hundreds, if not thousands, of statues had been brought 
from Syracuse, Macedonia, and ^tolia, the result of 
conquests in the years 212, 197 and 187 B.C., and later, 
in the year 146 B.C., the fall of Corinth served as a signal 
for a fresh series of lootings, when the most sacred shrines 
of the gods were not spared, and Athens, Delphi, Epi- 
daurus, and Olympia were stripped of a great number of 
their treasures, in order that the palaces and gardens of 


the Roman aristocracy might be ornamented in the 
current fashion. In the early years of the Empire, 
Nero is recorded to have carried off five hundred bronze 
statues from Delphi alone, the greater number of which 
must have perished in the disastrous fire of his reign. 
This growing taste for Greek art was deplored by many 
of the sterner Romans, who felt that the strength of the 
people lay in conquest and administration. This belief 
was summed up by Virgil in his well-known lines in 
the jfEneid : 

" Others belike, with happier grace 
From bronze or stone shall call the face, 
Plead doubtful causes, map the skies, 
And tell where planets set or rise. 
But Roman, thou, do thou control 

The nations far and wide ; 
Be this thy genius, to impose, 
The rule of peace on vanquished foes, 
Show pity to the humble soul 

And crush the sons of pride.'' ^ 

But Greek art had come to stay, and from being at first 
a fashion of the moment and a sign of national supremacy, 
it became the dominating influence in the art of the 
people. As a result of this popularity a number of Greek 
artists came to settle in Rome. There was little request 
for their skill in their own country, which lay wasted and 
dismantled, while in Italy they found both a ready market 
for their work and pupils eager to learn the art that was 
in such great request. There is no doubt that the pro- 
duction of work for a rich and ignorant public had a bad 
effect upon Greek artists, some of whom turned their art 
into a mere commercial business, and chiefly occupied 
themselves with the copying of antique statues and t}pes 
which soon became property common to all. 

* Conington's translation. Longmans. 


Religion — Roman religion was composed of many 
differing elements, for to the first early beliefs of the city- 
state were added a multitude of Greek and Oriental ideas, 
accumulated through years of conquest and intercourse 
with other nations. The early Romans believed in certain 
supernatural beings or powers, who were not visualized or 
defined as creatures of definite sex or appearance, but 
were supposed to dwell in certain places, persons or objects, 
and were reverenced as objects of worship. The activities 
of these deities were eminently practical, and the people 
were only interested in them in so far as they served 

These deities were essentially local in character, and 
were held to inhabit definite places, cities, villages or 
houses. The Roman farmer believed in Vesta, the spirit 
of the hearth fire ; in Penates, who guarded his store 
closet ; in Janus, who guarded his doorway and who was 
invoked and worshipped daily ; and in the Lar, who 
watched the boundary of his land. The paterfaniilias 
was looked upon as a natural priest and ruler of the 
family, who had in control the domestic worship. 

The State religion was an expansion of this family cult. 
The King was held to be the father of the State, and 
held certain sacrificial functions, while the Vestal Virgins 
guarded the hearth of the State, and kept the sacred fire 
alight in the temple and near the palace. In later years 
the King was not only supreme ruler of the State 
while he lived, but was deified and worshipped after his 
death, a custom derived in part, no doubt, from Egypt. 

In later art, when the gods were represented in human 
form, the Lar was generally depicted as a "youthful male 
figure, clothed in a tunic, and often with a laurel or jar or 
bowl of wine in his hand, and with his feet lightly resting 
on the ground, as if in an attitude for dancing. The 


genius, or spiritual embodiment of the father of the family 
was usually represented as a male figure in a toga, often 
standing between two Lares, and frequently in the act of 
pouring a libation from a horn. This genius was also 
supposed to take the form of a snake, representations 
of which are frequently met with in Etruscan tombs. 
Romans also believed that the spirits of the dead, on a 
certain day of the year, were allowed to revisit the earth, 
after the removal of a large stone, which was supposed to 
keep them underground. 

Duringthe Republic a number of deities were worshipped, 
both Greek and Roman in character. The chief gods 
were Jupiter, the god of lightning, the " best and greatest," 
who had been known as Tinia, or Tina, by the Etruscans, 
and Mars, the god of war, who was connected also 
with the harvesting of crops and with growth. With 
Jupiter was associated the goddess Juno, the special pro- 
tectress of women. The goddess Minerva was also 
Etruscan in origin, and was connected with the art of 
wind instruments. Hercules and Apollo were among the 
most famous of Latin deities, and also Ceres, Venus, and 
Mercurius, identified later with the Greek goddesses 
and god, Demeter, Aphrodite, and Hermes. Among the 
principal Oriental deities who became popular during the 
Empire were Serapis, Isis and Mithras. Serapis was 
generally represented like the Greek god, but was marked 
by a cylindrical head-dress, or polus, while Isis, beloved 
by women because of her grief for her son, was repre- 
sented, not in classical dress, but in Egyptian costume, 
with a head-dress of a solar disk and cow's horns. The 
worship of Mithras was essentially a cult of the army, 
and for this reason altars and reliefs of the god have been 
found on far distant boundaries of the Empire. Mithras 
was originally a Persian sun deity, and his cult spread 


westwards, and became so popular that at one time it 
constituted a serious rival to Christianity. The god is 
generally represented sacrificing a bull, and it is believed 
that the group is symbolic of the sun's victory over the 
earth and moon, the latter being represented by the 
curved horns of the animal. The dagger in the god's 
hand symbolizes the rays of the sun opening the fertile 
veins of the earth. The cult was introduced into Rome 
before the end of the Republic, but it was not until 
the third century A.D. that it attained its great 

Art. General Characteristics — Just as the Romans 
were a strenuous, practical, and unimaginative race, so is 
their art realistic, full of force, and stamped with practical 
intelligence rather than with spiritual and imaginative 
qualities. Roman art is, to a great extent, a further 
development of Hellenistic art on Italian soil, but it is not 
this alone, for the people, although they were largely 
borrowers, not originators in art, moulded the aesthetic 
ideals of the Greeks into a Roman imperial art of their 
own, an art into which their own strength and forceful 
personality passed. Material power and might, and the 
glory of dominion, are felt in every line and curve of Roman 
architecture, from the splendour of the forum, baths, and 
amphitheatre to the personal pride expressed by triumphal 
arch and column. Every Roman aqueduct, wall, and 
road speaks of the engineering ability and unswerving 
purpose of the empire builder, and no one who has 
followed the line of Hadrian's wall in Northumbria, 
through driving mists and over crag and heather, can read 
unmoved the sermon of its stones. 

In sculpture, as well as in architecture, Roman art was 
the servant of the State. Emperor and aristocrat, empress 
and citizen were alike eager to have their memory kept 


green by means of portrait bust, or historic relief, and the 
State was equally anxious that great names and great 
deeds should be held in remembrance as a spur to further 
effort. In this way the characteristic and essentially 
Roman art of the portrait bust and historic relief, which 
are realistic and narrative in character, is in marked 
contrast to the impersonal and idealistic art of the great 
age in Greece. 

With the rise of Byzantium the glory of Rome began 
to fade, and Eastern ideals made themselves felt, but to 
the end Roman art preserved the human form as the 
dominating idea of art, and, although weak and enfeebled, 
yet had enough strength to impose it upon the forms of 
the Christian Church, which was in spirit entirely hostile 
to it. 

Architecture — The Roman architects won their chief 
right to fame by the splendour of the domes which they 
built and by their discovery of the possibilities of the arch 
as an architectural form. It was a form known to the 
Egyptians and other early races but it had been 
employed by them in underground tombs ; the Greeks 
also used it occasionally, both for construction and 
decoration, but the Romans made the form their own, and 
using it in many and beautiful ways, opened up fresh 
possibilities of design, and laid the foundation of the 
medieval architecture that was to come. One of the 
most effective uses to which they subjected the arch was 
in the building of colonnades, while the form was also 
used as a purely decorative feature in the ornamentation 
of blank walls. 

Another feature of Roman building, which was essen- 
tially native in character, was the use of cement for 
architectural purposes. Large quantities of lime and 
pozzolanUy a species of volcanic earth, were found in the 


neighbourhood of the city, and were used by Roman 
builders, at first timidly, and then with increasing effect, 
as they realized the great strength and potentialities of 
the material. The boldness of design of the later Roman 
buildings, and the immense domes and vaults that often 
crowned them, owed their existence in a large measure to 
the employment of this material. There has been much 
controversy as to the origin of these Roman domes. 
They may have been copied from the smaller structures 
of a similar type common in the Near East, or it is 
possible that large domes had been erected in the eastern 
Hellenistic cities, and that these had been the inspiration 
of the Roman designs. In any case the dome became a 
favourite feature of the Roman architect, who preferred it 
to the flat roof that had been universal in the buildings 
of the Egyptians. 

The immense solidity of Roman building may have 
been partly due to the influence of the Etruscans, some 
of whose great walls are still to be seen in old Italian 
towns, such as Volterra and Perugia. It is difficult to 
estimate to what extent the Romans borrowed from the 
Etruscans in architectural matters, as Etruscan architecture 
in Rome was buried under the reconstructions of Augustus, 
who boasted that he found Rome of brick and left it of 
marble, while in other parts of the country there are 
scant Etruscan architectural remains. 

It is a much simpler matter to decide what Roman 
architecture owes to Greece. The Romans used all three 
Greek orders, the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, but owing 
to their lack of imagination, they were frequently guilty 
of abusing these forms and employing them in a way 
which betrayed an utter lack of refinement and apprecia- 
tion. The Roman forum was copied from the Greek 
Agora or market-place ; the amphitheatre was a develop- 


ment of the Greek theatre ; the circus was modelled on 
the Greek hippodrome, while the baths were to a certain 
extent an offspring of the Greek gymnasia. 

The early Roman buildings of the Republic were made 
of tufa, which was covered with stucco for decorative 
purposes, and was frequently ornamented with decorations 
in terra-cotta. With the advent of Augustus a fresh 
development of architecture took place. This great 
Emperor is said to have restored eighty-two temples, and 
the buildings that he erected must have been numberless. 
Their marble elegance, however, was not appreciated by 
all, for Juvenal wrote that in the Rome of the Republic 
" nowhere did marble spoil the native tufa." Nero was 
also a great builder, but the disastrous lire of the year 
64 A.D. destroyed not only the larger number of his 
buildings, but reduced a great part of Rome and its 
treasures to ashes. The power and luxury of the 
Flavian period is reflected in some of the most splendid 
and typically Roman buildings, such as the Colosseum 
and the triumphal arch of Titus, and fine buildings 
continued to be erected during the second and third 
centuries, as, for example, the great baths of Diocletian 
and the Temple of the Sun at Baalbec. 

The Romans regarded their secular buildings as equal 
in importance to their temples. Among the most im- 
portant of them were the amphitheatre, basilica, and the 
thermae or baths. The Colosseum of the Flavian 
emperors is the most famous example of its kind. This 
vast oval building measures a third of a mile in circum- 
ference, and it is estimated that it held at least 50,000 
spectators. The columned decoration of the exterior 
shows this architectural scheme in all its beauty, and 
also illustrates how a different style has been used for 
each story, first the Doric on the lowest, next the Ionic, 


and lastly the Corinthian order on the third story. The 
plain wall that crowns them is probably of later date. 
The Colosseum is perhaps the most typical of all Roman 
buildings, and shows, in the words of Blomfield, " the 
masculine intelligence of Roman architecture in its 
highest level." The amphitheatre, erected before the 
Colosseum, had been made of wood, but after this date 
all the chief Roman towns, both at home and in far 
distant provinces, erected amphitheatres after the new 
model. A number of them are still standing and are 
terrible witnesses of the ghastly and brutal scenes that 
were enacted within their walls. 

Roman basilicae were large halls, oblong in plan, and 
frequently divided into aisles by rows of columns and 
arches to support galleries for spectators, while an apse 
containing a tribunal was placed at one or both ends. 
These halls were used as courts of justice or exchanges, 
and the earliest of them was erected by Cato in the year 
184 B.C. The great baths, which date for the most part 
from the rich and luxurious days of the later empire, 
were enormous buildings with vaulted roofs, and con- 
tained, besides the baths themselves, a series of lecture 
rooms, libraries, lounges, and halls for gymnastic exercises. 
Another favourite architectural form was the triumphal 
arch, which was erected in commemoration of civil, or 
more frequently military, services. The earliest of these 
was put up in San Remy in memory of victories of 
Julius Caesar, while the latest, which is at Rheims, is 
assigned to the year 360 A.D. The three most famous 
examples in Rome are the arches of the Emperors Titus, 
Septimius Severus, and Constantine, while a beautiful and 
severely simple example is the arch of Augustus at 
Aosta. Arches, which were frequently single or triple in 
form, were surmounted by a sculptured group, generally 


representing an emperor on a chariot drawn by four 
horses. They were often decorated by fine reliefs also. 
Another favourite form of historic memorial was a 
column upon which were set forth, in sculptured relief, 
the histories of campaigns. The most famous examples 
are the columns of Trajan (a hundred and twenty-four 
feet in height), and the column of Marcus Aurelius, both 
in Rome. 

The Roman aqueducts and bridges, which were con- 
sidered as purely building and engineering works by their 
makers, are nevertheless fine and dignified monuments, 
often admirable in proportion and form. The remains 
of the earliest aqueducts, which date from the fourth 
century B.C., and which lie like " the gigantic vertebrae 
of antediluvian monsters," upon the flowery stretches of 
the Campagna, are familiar to all visitors to Rome, while 
the Pont du Gard, near Nimes, is the most famous of the 
provincial examples. 

Roman temples are for the greater part adaptations 
of Etruscan and Greek models. Many of the circular 
temples are very beautiful, as, for example, the little 
temple of Mater Matuta in the Forum Boarium, which 
dates from the time of Augustus. The Pantheon, the 
finest and most impressive of the Roman temples, built 
in the year 27 B.C. and re-erected later by Hadrian, is 
also to a large extent circular in character, as its main 
feature is a vast and massive rotunda, to which a portico 
is attached. The non-circular temple generally had a 
triple cella, which was an Etruscan characteristic, and was 
also built upon a raised poditnn or platform, which is 
probably also Etruscan in origin. The portico of the 
temple was frequently enlarged and was given special 
prominence, while a columned ambulatory often flanked 
the building on either side, until its course was arrested 


by the fourth wall, which was brought out to meet it. 
Among the Greek styles, that of the Corinthian order 
became the most popular among the Romans, and was 
universally employed in their buildings. In summing 
up the characteristics of Roman architecture, Professor 
Lethaby says : " Rome was lacking in the things of the 
Spirit. There is little wonder — the first early wonder at 
mysteries — left in Roman art ; the dew of the morning is 
dried up ; it is the greatest Philistine style. The archi- 
tecture, as ever, mirrors the soul of the nation."^ 

Sculpture. General Characteristics— The greater 
number of surviving Roman sculptures are in marble, 
and works in bronze are rare. The favourite and t}'pical 
forms of sculpture, as has already been mentioned, were 
portrait busts and historic reliefs, and although decorative 
temple sculptures in marble were produced, they were, for 
the most part, mechanical and monotonous groups follow- 
ing Greek models. A great number of the historic reliefs 
are chiefly interesting for their narrative, rather than for 
their artistic qualities. There are, of course, many fine 
examples, such as the beautiful A fa Pads of Augustus 
and the reliefs on the arch of Titus, but, generally speak- 
ing, they have not the true decorative instinct or a 
realization of the limitations of material and technique. 

The growth of the art of sculptured portraits can be 
traced to the ancient Roman custom of modelling wax 
masks of the dead. This was done in all aristocratic 
households, and the masks, when coloured, were preserved 
in small shrines and produced at subsequent funeral 
celebrations, when they were worn by men who in this 
way personified the ancestors of the deceased. The 
uncompromising realism of the Roman portrait busts 

^ Architecture (Home University Library). Lethaby. Williams & 



was a natural result of this practice. At the end of 
the second century B.C. wax masks were first superseded 
by busts in marble, but the influence of wax technique 
is apparent in these early works of the Republic, and 
also a lack of life and animation. Gradually the sculptor 
gained command over his material, and the later busts 
of the Republic are full of life and excellent characteriza- 
tion. Certain lines of Vernon Lee's, often quoted, may 
perhaps be quoted again here, as they express so well 
what is to be said of Roman portrait busts. 

" But when Greek art had run its course, when beauty 
of form had well-nigh been exhausted or begun to pall, 
certain artists . . . began to produce portrait work of quite 
a new and wonderful sort, the beautiful portraits of ugly 
old men, of snub little boys, work which was clearly 
before its right time. ... Of this Roman portrait art, 
of certain heads of half-idiotic little Caesar brats, of sly 
and wrinkled old men, things which ought to be so ugly 
and yet are so beautiful, we say — at least, perhaps un- 
formulated, we think, ' How Renaissance ! ' and the 
secret of the beauty of these few Graeco-Roman busts, 
which is also that of Renaissance portrait sculpture, is 
that the beauty is quite different in kind from the beauty 
of Greek ideal sculpture and obtained by quite different 
means." There are other lines too which come into our 
minds when we think of this fine art by which Rome 
has perpetuated the memory of her sons, 

" Toute passe . . . L'art robuste. 
Seul a I'eternite, 
Le buste 
Survit a la cite. 

Et la medaille austere 
Que trouve un laboureur 
Sous terre 
Revele un empereur." 


The production of Roman sculpture can be divided into 
the following seven periods : — 

I. The Republic, B.C. 509-B.C. 27 — By the begin- 
ning of the first century A.D. native art was nearly 
forgotten in Rome, and but for a few sentences, such as 
the remark by Pliny the Elder as to the " ancient art of 
statuary native to Italy," we have little or nothing to 
tell us of what it was like. There are very few traces 
of it still surviving, and the famous wolf of the Capitol, 
formerly thought to have been Roman work, is now 
attributed by many authorities to Ionian Greeks. There 
is no doubt that the chief influence in early Roman art 
was that of the Etruscans. Livy tells us that after the 
fall of Veii, in B.C. 396, the ancient Etruscan images of 
the gods were carried with reverence to Rome, and 
according to Pliny as many as two thousand statues of 
bronze were transferred to the capital after the sack of 
Volsinii, in 265 B.C. 

With the decay of Etruria and the new vigour that 
made itself felt in Rome after the Punic wars, a national 
art began to grow up, similar in many respects to Etruscan 
art, but stamped with a rough force and realism and a 
strong fidelity to life that was essentially Roman in 
character. The famous Arringatore or orator, now in 
Florence, may be an example of later Republican art, in 
spite of its Etruscan inscription, for although it betrays 
Greek influence, this is not yet strongly marked. The 
busts of the husband and wife in the Vatican, known as 
Cato and Portia, are other well-known examples of the 
art of this period. 

It was not until the first century B.C. that Greek 
ideals first began to be felt with any certainty, but from 
this time onwards their influence was paramount in Roman 
art. The sculpture of the Republic was confined almost 


exclusively to portraiture. The law of the growth of 
portrait busts has been determined by Bienkowski, who 
points out that busts of the Republic are only carried 
down to the part immediately below the collar-bone. 

2. The Julio-Claudian Dynasty. A. Augustus 
(28 B.C. -14 A.D.) — With theestablishmentof theEmpire, 
and the age of peace and prosperity that marked the 
reign of Augustus, Roman art took on new characteristics. 
The Emperor, who was a great admirer of Hellenic 
culture, did all that he could to foster the artistic traditions 
of Greece in his own dominions, with the result that 
numberless Greek artists flocked to Rome and an im- 
portant school of Graeco-Roman sculpture was developed. 
In the words of Horace, " Captive Greece o'ercame her 
savage conqueror and introduced the arts to rustic Latium," 
while the fine and " rustic " native art of realistic portraiture 
was for the moment checked. Hellenic art was trans- 
formed into a Roman Imperial art and a large number of 
sculptures were produced, many being cold and lifeless 
copies of the types and statues of ancient Greece, while 
others were splendid specimens of Hellenic art, reinforced 
by Roman power and individuality. It is very difficult to 
tell whether the works of this period are by Greeks or 
Romans, as the sculptors of each nationality caught certain 
characteristics from the other, and we must be content to 
label it " Graeco-Roman " work. 

Besides the Hellenic school and the school of imitators 
and copyists, there was a second body of Augustan 
sculptors who established a realistic school of relief, based 
upon a careful observation of nature. This school de- 
veloped the idealistic tendencies of the Alexandrian 
school and produced some delicate and carefully observed 
work, full of tenderness and playful fancy, and strongly 
Hellenic in character. The most famous reliefs of the 


Augustan age, however, are those from the Ara Pacts, or 
Altar of Peace, which was erected b}- the Senate between 
the years B.C. 13-9 in celebration of the victories of the 
Emperor in Spain and Gaul. It was the first of the great 
Roman monuments to be decorated with historic reliefs, 
and consisted of the altar and high enclosing walls. The 
decorations of these walls were partly in the shape of 
renderings of natural forms, such as leaves, birds and 
flowers, and partly consisted of a procession of priests, 
nobles and people, on their way to sacrifice after the 
victories ; in fact, it formed a Roman equivalent to the 
frieze of the Parthenon. These beautiful reliefs are Greek 
in form and, to a great extent, Greek in spirit, but a 
number of the figures are portraits and the procession is 
Roman in character. Although the monument has long 
been destroyed, a number of the reliefs have been pre- 
served, and perhaps the fact that they have been scattered 
is not to be regretted, for according to Mrs Strong, the 
decoration of the great altar was controlled by no 
dominating idea, and the reliefs gain in beauty when 
studied separately and not as a complete decorative 

The realism of the Roman portrait busts was to a great 
extent changed during this period to the more idealized 
and typical representations of the Greeks. The heroic 
heads of Augustus are many of them very fine, while at this 
time also certain female heads were first produced which 
represented living Imperial personages in semi-mythical 
guise. The busts of this period, like those of the Re- 
public, include little more than the neck. There are also 
some fine whole-length statues dating from the Augustan 
age, the most famous of which is the statue of the 
Emperor from Prima Porta. A noticeable feature of the 
heads of the Augustan reliefs is that for the first time the 


full importance of the eye seems to be realized, and in the 
words of a recent critic, " The sculptor allowed the direction 
of the gaze to diverge from that of the head." 

B. Other Principals of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty. 
Tiberius (14-37 A.D.), Caius Caesar (Caligula) (37-41 
A.D.), Claudius, (41-54 A.D.) and Nero (54-68 A.D.) 
— The remaining membersof the Julio-Claudian House had 
little time to spare from the cares of war and government 
for the cause of art. They were collectors, and loved to 
amass treasure in their palaces, but they did little to en- 
courage native art, which, left to itself, first declined into a 
cold and mechanical echo of Hellenism, and then slowly 
began to return again to native tradition. The busts of 
the middle of the century show an actual facial likeness to 
the model, but have not yet gained power enough to 
express once more the informing spirit. Owing to the 
great fire of Nero's reign very few of the Julio-Claudian 
monuments have been preserved. 

Reigns of Galba, Otho and Vitellius 

3. The Flavian Dynasty. Vespasian (69-79 A. D.), 
Titus (79-81 A.D.), Domitian (81-96 A.D.)— The 
series of foreign victories of the first of the Flavian emperors 
was followed by a succession of brilliant, if often terrible, 
triumphs and celebrations in Rome. The enthusiasm of 
the people was stirred, and a great age of Roman art set in, 
perhaps the greatest and certainly the most truly Roman 
of the periods of artistic output. Vespasian forwarded the 
cause of the arts in every way that he could ; protected and 
favoured the men of letters, and formed a magnificent 
collection of works of art which he placed in the Forum 
and Temple of Peace. 


The artificiality of later Hellenic culture had died out, 
and native tradition had again to a certain extent 
asserted itself, having gained in the meantime both in 
execution and conception by contact with Greek ideals. 
It was an age of genuine artistic effort. The number of 
native artists was greatly increased, and a large amount 
of work was produced by sculptors of Greek descent who 
were now naturalized as Roman citizens. Certain Graeco- 
Syrian influences from the East made themselves felt and 
were apparent in the richer decoration of architectural 
forms, while the sculptors became absorbed in what has 
been termed illusionism, the expression of naturalistic 
effect, designed to create not the actual imitation of an 
object, but rather the impression which it produced. 

With the exception of portrait busts v^ery little Flavian 
sculpture remains. The most famous reliefs of the period 
still existing are those on the arch of Titus, which is the 
next great monument of its kind that has been preserved 
after the Ara Pads of Augustus. The arch was erected 
in commemoration of the capture of Jerusalem by Titus 
in 7 1 A.D., but although it was probably commenced 
during the reign of Titus, it was finished and dedicated 
after his death by his brother Domitian, The fine reliefs 
on the arch, illustrating incidents in the campaign, are 
examples of the illusionistic methods of the Flavian 
sculptors (see Plate XVIII.). In the words of Wickhoff, 
" a frame is simply thrown open and through it we look 
at the march past of the triumphal procession. We are 
to believe that the people are moving there before our 
eyes ; . . . the plastic art tries to attain by its own 
methods the same effect as would a highly developed art 
of painting — the impression of complete illusion. Beauty 
of line, symmetry of parts, such as a conventional art 
demands, are no longer sought for. Everjthing is 


concentrated on the one aim of producing an impression 
of continuous motion." ^ 

The art of portraiture reached a high level during 
the Flavian period. Heads were rendered with subtlety, 
distinction, and fidelity, and are some of the finest works 
of their kind in existence. The busts were carried down 
to the line of the shoulders and those of the women are 
generall}^ marked by the high toiipets of curls which were 
fashionable at this time in court circles. 

Reign of Nerva, 96-98 

4. Trajan (98-117 A.D.) — The reign of Trajan, 
which was a military and strenuous one, showed a decline 
in the artistic qualities of the Flavian dynasty. The 
brilliance of execution was preserved and many fine 
works were still produced, but on the whole a certain 
lack of spirit and decline in naturalism set in, and 
sculptures were apt to be wooden and hard in manner. 
The portrait busts show the whole shoulder and upper 
part of the chest ; toiipets were still worn, and the pupils 
of the eye were for the first time represented. 

The most famous monument of the reign is the 
Column of Trajan, which is ornamented by a long winding 
spiral of continuous decorative reliefs, composed of about 
four hundred slabs and illustrating the campaigns against 
the Dacians. There are no less than 2500 figures in 
these reliefs, and the Emperor appears among them 
nearly a hundred times in connection with the various 
scenes of the war. These reliefs, besides being of great 
historic interest, are also interesting from the artistic 
standpoint, although they cannot take high rank as works 
of art. 

' Roman Art. Wickhoft", translateJ Sellers. Heinemann, 

PLATE Xl'ltl 




5. Hadrian (117-138 A.D.) — Hadrian, spoken of by 
his contemporaries as " the Greekling," was a man of 
Hellenicand philosophicsympathies. He revived the study 
of Greek and even Egyptian artistic models, with the result 
that the sculpture of his reign was eclectic in tendency 
but often dull and academic in manner owing to the lack 
of internal response to the ideals thrust upon it. Art 
attained a widespread popularity during this reign, and 
many buildings were erected by the Emperor, both at 
home and in the colonies, while ancient monuments were 
enlarged and restored. A great number of the Roman 
sarcophagi also date from this period. Although many 
of them were interesting works, they were apt to be over- 
decorated with crowded figures, and they do not take 
high rank among Roman works of art. 

The portrait busts of Hadrian's reign show part of the 
upper arm, and the representation of the pupils of the 
eye becomes more common. The Emperor was also the 
first ruler to be represented with a beard, a fashion which 
rapidly became popular. The idealistic tendencies in art, 
occasioned by the renewed study of Greek sculpture, are 
well expressed by the numerous busts of Antinous, a 
Bithynian youth and great favourite of the Emperor's, 
who was drowned in the Nile, possibly by his own desire, 
as some mystic sacrifice required on behalf of his patron. 
This voluntary death aroused a fresh passion of devotion 
in Hadrian, who deified his favourite and caused endless 
idealized portraits of him to be executed. These portraits 
exerted an important influence on contemporary sculpture, 
and established a type, the popularity of which lasted during 
the whole of the reign. 

6. The Antonine Dynasty. Antoninus Pius (138- 
161 A.D.), Marcus Aurelius (161-180 A.D.), Corn- 
modus (180-192 A.D.) — ^With the Antonine dynasty, the 


first signs of decadence in Roman art became apparent. 
The influence of the Greek revival, now dying out, was felt 
but weakly, and sculptors became occupied with new 
technical problems, such as the differentiating between the 
textureof hair and skin, by highly polishing certain surfaces, 
and a free use of the drill for the rough surfaces of hair and 
beard. The eye was also again carefully studied. Although 
the age was one of gradual decline, many fine works were 
still produced, such as the bronze equestrian statue of 
Marcus Aurelius, which, if uninteresting in detail, is 
splendid in general effect ; and the portraits of the elder 
and younger Faustina. The busts of this time generally 
include the upper arm and the whole of the chest. 

Reigns of Pertinax and Didius Jtdianus 

7. The Third and Early Fourth Centuries — The 

third and early fourth centuries witnessed the steady 
decay of the Empire and also of Roman art. During the 
second quarter of the third century the Roman dominions 
were torn by eternal strife, and few works of art were 
produced except sarcophagi and portrait busts. The 
latter art continued to hold its own, in spite of artistic 
decay, and although as an art it had fallen to a lower 
level than that to which it had previously attained, and 
over-elaborate treatment was afforded to the representation 
of detail and colouristic effect, occasional masterpieces, 
such as the portrait of Philippus Arabus in the Vatican, 
and the bust of Caracalla, were still produced. During 
the first half of the third century, busts had grown to be 
almost half-length figures, while the pictorial effect of 
hair and beard was rendered by numberless small pick- 
marks of the chisel. 

During the third century a steady growth of Oriental 


influence took place. Fresh Oriental religious cults were 
adopted, many of which were derived from the Hellenic 
centres of Asia Minor, and the Oriental love of pattern 
began for the first time to be felt. After the fall of 
Gallienus, in 268 A.D., very little sculpture was produced 
in Rome, while in the fourth century few portrait busts 
were executed. 

The reign of Constantine shows Roman art in its last 
phase. In the execution of reliefs the sculptors were 
chiefly occupied with the new colour effects, and work 
was largely executed in two planes, so that effects of 
light and dark, not softly graduated effects of light and 
shade, might be obtained. This was no doubt the 
result of the Oriental love of pattern, as opposed to 
Western representative relief, and to this cause also, as 
well as to the growth of Christianity, the growing lack of 
interest in the human figure may be attributed. Riegl 
states that the arch of Constantine, erected after his 
victory over Maxentius, is spiritual as well as aesthetic in 
interest, and " stands where the antique passes over into 
the medieval world." The figures in Constantinian reliefs 
are rigid, formal and inanimate, and the precursors of 
Romanesque sculpture. 

Painting and Mosaic Work — Roman painting never 
reached a very high level. The frescoes found in 
Pompeii, and in the excavation of Roman palaces and 
villas, show that the art was based on that of the Greeks, 
and in particular on the art of the Hellenistic city of 

At the time of Augustus, subjects from the epic poets 
and from mythology were frequently used, while some- 
what later idvllic scenes in the manner of the Alexandrian 
School became popular. The early paintings also show a 
love and observation of nature, but this seems to have 


died out to a large extent during the first century A.D. 
Among other examples of paintings are the portraits 
on Eg\'ptian mummy cases, mentioned on p. 182, but 
these, although executed under Roman rule, are Graeco- 
Eg)'ptian in origin. 

The mosaic art was introduced into Rome from Egypt 
about the middle of the second century B.C., and became 
so popular that by the time of the Antonines it had 
spread to the remotest provinces. The small cubes or 
tessercB were chiefly made of marble, and the decoration 
of floors and walls by this process became a common 
practice in every Roman house. The art developed on 
somewhat similar lines to that of painting, and employed 
the same subjects as well as purel}' decorative and 
geometrical designs. It was, however, in Byzantine 
art that it reached its most splendid expression. 

Metal Work, Gem Engraving and Pottery — The 
Roman craftsmen produced some fine metal work. Vases 
in precious metals were more frequently executed than 
bronze reliefs, and the art was influenced to a certain 
extent by the Hellenic school of metal chasers established 
since early days in Asia Minor. Gem engraving, with 
which should be classed cameo cutting, reached a high 
level during the age of Augustus, when such famous 
specimens as the cameo in Paris representing the deified 
Emperor and his family, and the cameo portraits of 
Augustus and Livia in the British Museum, were pro- 
duced. Roman pottery never reached the level of that of 
the Greeks. The native potters, however, produced an 
original ware of their own, which was first manufactured at 
Arretium (Arezzo) in the second century B.C. Its chief 
characteristic was a brilliant red glaze, which was frequently 
decorated with moulded figures in the same medium. 
This ware, which is incorrectly known as Samian ware, 


was afterwards produced in Gaul and certain centres in 
Germany, but it was nev-er made in Britain, although it 
has been frequently found there. 

Roman Art in Britain — Although Julius Caesar 
had visited British shores in the year 5 5 B.C., the Roman 
occupation of the country did not begin until the conquest 
of Claudius in A.D. 43, when Aulus Plautius was left as 
governor until the year 47. The southern part of the 
country was first occupied, and the advance towards Scot- 
land did not begin until the time of the great Roman 
General, Agricola, who governed the country during the 
years 78-85. There are many scattered camps between 
Northumberland and Aberdeen which may be attributed to 
Agricola, and although the great wall of Hadrian was not 
built until the year 124, the inception of both this and 
the Antonine wall, built some years later between the 
Forth and the Clyde, are probably due to the military 
genius of the great General. 

Very little is known about Roman Britain except 
what has been learnt through archeological research. 
The country was a remote and outlying province and was 
only to a certain extent civilized by her conquerors. The 
northern districts were always more or less unsettled, 
although it has been estimated that a hundred thousand 
souls dwelt on the seventy-mile line of Hadrian's wall 
Among the chief Roman towns were Lindum (Lincoln) 
Eboracum (York), Camulodunum (Colchester), Glevum 
(Gloucester), Deva (Chester), Aquas Sulis (Bath), Verula- 
mium (St Albans), Calleva (Silchester), and Viroconium 
(Wroxeter). The last two of these towns have been 
excavated, and much light has been thrown in consequence 
upon the history of the period. 

There were many forts in the region of the wall, and 
also one or two small fortified towns, such as Luguvallium 


(Carlisle) and Corstopitum (Corbridge). Although these 
towns were largely military in character, the historian 
Josephus speaks of " the place for handicraft trade " 
that they contained, and the excavations that have 
recently taken place prove that works of art, even if 
rude in character, were produced there. Among 
the most interesting specimens found is the " Corbridge 
lion," which shows a certain rough vigour and strength 
which is obviously local in character. In the south, one 
of the best examples of local art is the bearded Gorgon 
found at Bath, an excellent specimen of Romano-British 

The Roman era in Britain lasted, broadly speaking, for 
350 years, and came to an end about the year 400 A.D. 



Part I. — Elementary Lesson in Story Form 

INTRODUCTION— Last Lesson.— About three hundred years 
after the time of the Emperor Titus, the Roman Empire was 
divided into two parts, the Western Roman Empire with Rome 
as its capital, and the Byzantine or Eastern Roman Empire, with the 
town of New Rome, or Byzantium (now called Constantinople), as its 
chief town. A different Emperor ruled in each capital, but the 
subjects of the Emperor in Byzantium were chiefly Greeks, not 
Romans. This is a story about something that happened during the 
reign of a Byzantine Emperor called Justinian. 

I. Anthemius of Tralles — In a town called Tralles, 
near Ephesus, in Asia Minor, there lived a Greek family 
consisting of a father and mother and their five sons. 
The parents thought that no one could ever have had 
such clever boys as they had, for there was hardly any- 
thing that they could not do. They not only loved their 
games and got into scrapes and mischief like any other 
boys, but they loved their books too, and seemed to learn 
their lessons with no trouble at all. They delighted to 
talk and argue and write, and in the winter evenings they 
would get their father or mother to tell them stories 
about the ancient Greeks who had lived hundreds of years 
before. " Ah," the father would say, " those were great 
days. Now the Romans are the powerful people, but 
then it was our race which ruled the world and kept the 
Persians at bay. The Greeks of those days were the 



most brilliant people the world has ever known. Think 
of Pericles, the wise ruler of Athens, and Phidias, who 
planned the wonderful statues and friezes of the Par- 
thenon. Where are our great men now ? " The old man 
would sigh and the mother would say, " Now, my sons, 
you, when you grow up, must do great things and show 
that the Greeks have not lost their ancient power and 

There was one of the brothers who perhaps more than 
all the others loved to hear the old stories. His name 
was Anthemius, and there was nothing he could not do 
with his clever hands and quick brain. He would sit 
hugging his knees, his eyes wide, like one in a dream, as 
the soft voice of his mother went on and on, telling of 
kings and heroes. Then the falling logs of the fire with 
their sudden shower of sparks would bring him to him- 
self with a start, and the boys would be packed off to 
their beds, and Anthemius would dream of all the 
wonderful things that he would make, churches and 
bridges and machines of every kind. 

As the boy grew up he spent more and more time with 
his models and plans. He was for ever experimenting 
with buildings and machines, until the people around 
became interested and asked him to build things for 
them. Whatever he built was well made and solid, 
and when he planned a church or a house it was beautiful 
also. No wonder his fame began to spread and he was 
sent for to build in far-distant towns. 

Then one day a most wonderful thing happened ; a 
messenger arrived on horseback, dusty with long journey- 
ing and wearing the Imperial livery. What did he want ? 
He had come bearing an order to Anthemius from the 
great Emperor Justinian, who bade him to come and 
settle in Byzantium and work for the Imperial family. 


No greater honour could fall to Anthemius, and in 
company with the messenger he set off joyfully for the 
famous capital of New Rome. After several days' 
travelling they came to the coast, where they took 
passage in a trading ship, and soon the breeze had 
filled its big sails and they were slipping through the 
warm blue waters, past the sun-burnt islands of the .^gean 
Sea towards Byzantium. 

2. Byzantium— At last one morning a call from the 
watch told Anthemius that B}'zantium was in sight. He 
hurried on deck in great excitement to see the wonderful 
city where the glories of the East and West met. He 
had often heard how the Emperors had ransacked their 
wide dominions for splendid statues and marbles to 
decorate their capital, and now he was to see the splendour 
and the treasures himself The walls and towers grew 
nearer, bright in the clear morning light, and soon the 
ship was in the busy harbour, and Anthemius had passed 
the walls and was on the way to the Emperor's palace. 

The streets were full of people of every nationality : 
Roman soldiers with the sunlight glancing from their 
shining spears and helmets ; dusky traders from the East, 
busy in bartering their richly coloured rugs and em- 
broideries ; numberless bearded monks, deep in argument 
as they passed ; Syrians and Arabs from the East, in 
their white and coloured robes, and everywhere Greeks, 
going about their morning's business. Great buildings 
lined the streets, bright with coloured marbles, and 
ornamented with splendid Greek statues. In the vast 
hippodrome or circus some of the finest of the statues 
were placed, among them four splendid gilded bronze 
horses, which Anthemius thought were some of the most 
beautiful things he had ever seen. There was little time, 
however, to examine all the beautiful works of art, and he 



was hurried on by his guide to the palace, with only time 
for a glance at the big Forum and the Church of Sancta 
Sophia, which stood near by. 

If Anthemius had been dazzled by the brilliant scene 
outside he found himself still more amazed at the richness 
of the palace within. He was taken through a series of 
ante-rooms and great halls until he found himself in the 
presence of the Emperor and prostrated himself upon the 
ground before him. Justinian, who was a spare man of 
middle age, slightly bald and clean shaven, and plainly 
dressed, received him kindly, and at once questioned him 
about his work, asking him what he had already done, 
and discussing plans for future buildings in the city. 
They were soon joined in their talk by the Empress 
Theodora, whose magnificent robes and amazing beauty 
astonished Anthemius, although he thought her face some- 
what hard. The architect was not sorry when the excit- 
ing interview was over and he was free to go to the 
lodgings that had been provided for him and rest after his 

3. The Nika Rebellion — Then began happy and 
busy years for Anthemius. His genius was the delight 
of the Emperor, who kept him continually employed in 
the further building and decorating of the city. Often, 
after a hard day's work, Anthemius would go to the great 
hippodrome and watch the chariot races and the athletic 
contests. The roughest of the people would go wild with 
excitement over a closely-contested race, and afterwards, 
at night, would sometimes march through the city streets 
singing and shouting, before their excitement had died 
down, and they were driven home by the soldiers on 
guard. One winter's night some of the crowd t^ehaved so 
badly that Justinian ordered the leaders to be put to 
death, so that order might be restored in the city. At 


this the mob became more angry than ever, and serious 
riots began. The people chose the word Nika or 
" conquer " for their watchword, and began to fight in the 
streets, shouting out that the Emperor must die, and a 
new one be elected in his stead. Almost all Justinian's 
soldiers were away fighting the Persians, and very i&w 
were left to guard the palace or to check the riots in the 
streets. The crowd, getting more and more out of hand, 
set fire to some of the public buildings, and soon the 
flames began to spread. In a {qw days a great part of 
the city lay in ashes ; the church of Sancta Sophia was 
burnt to the ground, and the palace itself was threatened. 

Justinian ordered the chief treasures of his palace to be 
placed on a ship, and himself prepared to fly, but he had 
not counted on the Empress Theodora. Facing the 
Emperor and his trembling councillors she said, " No time 
is this to ask whether a woman should be bold before 
men, or valiant when men are afraid. They who are in 
extremest peril must think of nothing but how best to 
meet what lies before them ; to fly, if ever it be expedient, 
would now not be so, I declare, even if it preserved us. 
For a man born into this life not to die is impossible; but 
for one who has been Emperor to become an exile is not 
to be endured. Let us never come to be without this 
purple robe, nor live to see that day when men shall cease 
to call me their sovereign lady. If you, Emperor, wish to 
escape, it is no hard matter. Here is the sea, and there 
lie the ships. But consider that you may not one day 
wish that you had not exchanged your mean safety for a 
glorious death. For me, I love the ancient saying, 
' How brave a sepulchre a kingdom is ! ' " 

These words of Theodora's fired the Emperor and 
his advisers with fresh courage. The Byzantine general 
Belisarius collected all the available troops, and sallied 


out, and, after sharp fighting, the mob was routed, order 
was restored, and the day was won for Justinian. 

4. The Building of Sancta Sophia — But what a 
sight met the Emperor's eyes when he first went out to 
see what harm had been done to his splendid city ! Many 
of the magnificent buildings were now piles of charred 
ruins. Curious crowds of people were hurrying to and 
fro, commenting and bewailing, and coughing and rubbing 
their eyes as drifts of smoke were blown past on the wind 
from the smouldering piles of masonry. Every now and 
then a block of stone or piece of timber would fall with a 
crash, sending up a fire of sparks, while blackened marbles 
stood gaunt and solitary against the grey winter sky. As 
the Emperor, followed by attendants and soldiers, passed 
to and fro among the ruins, the people whispered and 
pointed covertly, and Justinian, throwing his head back, 
vowed to himself passionately that he would live to rule 
over a city more magnificent than the city that had just 
been so scarred and blackened. He would build up a new 
Byzantium, greater than any that had gone before it, and 
the first building that should arise should be a great new 
church dedicated to Sancta Sophia, or Holy Wisdom, 
which should stand where the ruins of the old Sancta 
Sophia now smouldered. No time should be lost. The 
new church should be begun at once. Who should be its 
architect ? 

A familiar figure, now grey-haired, was seen approach- 
ing, and recognizing Anthemius of Tralles, Justinian sent 
a command that he should speak with him, and before the 
interview was finished the planning of the new church had 
been entrusted to the great architect. Anthemius returned 
home full of joy at the thought of the task that lay before 
him, and Justinian busied himself in dictating an edict 
to be sent by messengers to the heads of the different 


Byzantine provinces, ordering them to search at once for 
any old marbles or relics of ancient classical temples 
in their dominions, and despatch what they might find 
with all possible speed to Byzantium, 

Before a month was over the new church was begun. 
Anthemius had worked day and night at the plans, with 
the help of Isidorus, another Greek architect, and had 
designed a splendid new building, to be surmounted by 
an immense dome. Every day ships, laden with marbles, 
carvings, and foreign woods, arrived at the quays, and 
cartloads of bricks were unloaded at the site of the new 
church. The sound of hammering and sawing never 
ceased ; hundreds of workmen came and went, and scarcely 
a day passed when the Emperor was not to be seen 
encouraging the workmen and talking to Anthemius, who 
was never far away from his beloved building. As the 
years passed the great shell of the church reached up far 
above the houses, and dominated the town. Then the 
dome was added, its immense weight supported by the 
great walls, and borne up by many marble columns 
and springing arches. Lastly, an army of decorators 
filled the building. They lined the church with coloured 
marbles, and covered the vaults and domes with mosaics, 
which were made of tiny cubes of glass, all gold and 
silver and richly coloured, cemented together in the form 
of patterns, and of figures of saints and angels. After 
five years of work the great church was finished, and a 
dedicatory service was prepared. 

5. The Opening Ceremony — On the day of the 
opern'ng of the new church the whole town buzzed with 
excitement. There was to be a great procession of the 
clergy and the court, and every one was eager to take 
part in the service of dedication. The town was gaily 
decorated and at an early hour the line of route was 


crowded with men, women, and children, eager to see the 
Emperor and to follow him into the new building. After 
many hours of waiting the patience of the crowd by the 
church was rewarded and a quick whisper of excitement 
passed from lip to lip, " They are coming, the procession 
has started ! " A sound of solemn chanting was borne on 
the wind and then the procession came in sight, passing 
with slow tread under the shadow of the great walls. 
The armour of the soldiers shone in the sunlight ; the 
heavy scent of the incense rose into the fresh wintry air, 
and the boys' voices rose and fell above the deeper tones 
of the priests' chanting. In the centre of the procession 
the Patriarch, or High Priest, sat in state in the Emperor's 
chariot, which was drawn by splendid horses in jewelled 
harness, while walking on foot by its side was Justinian. 

As the great doors were reached, and swung open 
before the Patriarch and the Emperor, the choir broke 
into a glad chant. " Lift up your heads, oh ye gates, 
and be ye lifted up, O ye everlasting doors," the boys 
sang joyfully. The Emperor stepped forward and entered 
the church, followed by all the people. He advanced to 
the pulpit and gazing around him at the great vault above 
and the richly glowing walls, he threw his arms wide and 
exclaimed, " Glory be to God for thinking me worthy to 
finish such a work : Solomon, I have excelled you." 
But there was another present whose heart was full of a 
deeper joy than Justinian's. Anthemius, in his place of 
honour, stood silent and still. The sound of the singing 
surged past him ; the blaze and glory of the sunlight 
beating back from the gold and richness of the mosaics 
dazzled him, but he seemed neither to see nor hear. His 
heart was full to overflowing to think that he, Anthemius, 
had been allowed to raise this majestic church to the 
honour of God, and his eyes were wide, even, as when 

PL ATI-: x/.v 


a child, he had listened to his mother's stories, and had 
seen visions and dreamed dreams. 

Notes on the Story — Paragraph i — Imaginary ; founded on the 
account of Agathias. Paragraph 2 — Imaginary. Details of architecture 
and statues taken from contemporary chronicles. Paragraph 3— The 
Nika rebellion lasted from the 15th to the 28th of January, 532 A.D. 
The circus parties of the " Blues " and the " Greens " had developed 
into political parties at this time. For full details see any Byzantine 
History. Paragraph 4 — Imaginary. Justinian actually sent the 
edict demanding the old marbles, and he also watched the building of 
the church. Paragraph 5 — Minor details of procession imaginary. 
The chant " Lift up your heads" was sung at the re-dedication of the 
church, after its restoration due to the earthquake, but we do not 
know if it was sung at the first dedication. Details concerning 
Anthemius imaginary. The words of Theodora, and of Justinian on 
entering the church, are traditional. 

Part II. — Material for Advanced Lessons only 

Byzantium — In the year 330 A.D. the Emperor 
Constantine transferred the seat of empire from Rome to 
Byzantium, now known as Constantinople, and christened 
by him " New Rome." Byzantium had been founded by 
Greek settlers about the year 657 B.C., and had for long 
been under Roman rule, but it was not until the reign of 
Constantine that the city first became important. The 
Emperor saw that Byzantium was in nearer relation 
to the East and commanded a finer military position 
than that of old Rome, and would make a better 
trade centre, and he also realized that the new religion 
would gain greater freedom than would be possible for it 
in the ancient pagan capital. Although Constantine 
brought many of the Roman nobles with him to his new 
capital and numbers of Roman merchants, craftsmen, and 
troops, the city was largely populated by Greeks, and 
Greek remained the common tongue although the Court 


spoke Latin. The city also, although avowedly Christian, 
still contained pagan shrines. 

In the year 395 A.D. the Emperor Theodosius divided 
the Empire into the two Empires of the East and West 
and apportioned one to each of his two sons. The Western 
Empire fell shortly afterwards before the attacks of the 
Goths and Vandals. The Eastern or Byzantine Empire, 
on the other hand, steadily grew in power and dominion. 
Among its most important cities were the great Hellen- 
istic centres of Alexandria, and Antioch in Syria, but these 
gradually assumed a second place as Byzantium itself 
became the centre of the Empire. 

Among the people who came to settle at the new 
capital were Greeks from Asia Minor and Alexandria, 
Copts, Jews, Armenians, Syrians, Persians, and wandering 
craftsmen from the Roman guilds. As time passed a 
elding together of these varying elements took place and 
^Byzantium became not only the centre of the Christian 
East, but one of the most important cities of the Middle 
Ages. Splendid buildings were erected there by the 
emperors, and the treasures of Rome, Greece, Sicily, and 
Asia Minor were used in its decoration. Among the 
hundreds of statues that ornamented the city were the 
four Greek bronze horses, which were probably brought to 
Byzantium by the Emperor Theodosius II. (408-450 A.D.) 
and which were taken to Venice in the thirteenth century 
by the Doge Enrico Dandolo. There was also a great 
bronze statue of Athena from the Acropolis at Athens 
which stood on a column in the forum, until in later years 
it was melted down for purposes of war. It is quite 
possible that this statue was none other than the famous 
early work of Phidias. 

Byzantium reached the height of its glory under the 
Emperor Justinian (482-3-565 A.D.), who was a man of 


humble origin and hard in character, but of great force 
and determination. His famous generals Narses and 
Belisarius extended the Eastern Empire on every hand ; 
they destroyed the rule of the Vandals in Africa, captured 
Southern Spain from the Goths, reconquered Italy from 
the Gothic kings, and concluded a peace with the 
Persians, who threatened the Byzantine provinces in 
Asia Minor. Justinian had a passion for building. He 
repaired the fortifications of his capital and erected 
numberless buildings within their shelter. It is said that 
during his reign Byzantium boasted eight aqueducts, 
eleven forums, twenty-four thermae or great baths, and 
numerous palaces, churches, theatres, and other public 
buildings. To the glories of ancient Greece and Rome 
were added the splendour and colour of the East, and it 
was to this blending of East and West that the city 
owed its magnificence. 

During the seventh century many of the Byzantine 
provinces were captured by the Arabs ; in the eighth 
and early ninth centuries a great iconoclastic controversy 
raged ; and from the end of the ninth to the middle of 
the eleventh century the splendour of the Empire was 
revived under the rule of the Macedonian dynasty. 
The beginning of the end came in the year i 204 A.D., 
when a coalition of Venetian merchants and Crusaders 
sacked Byzantium and elected a Frankish emperor in 
place of a Greek. In the year 1261 the Greeks re- 
captured their capital and ruled over a kingdom that 
had become weakened by inroads of Bulgarians and 

In the }'ear 1453 A.D. the capital itself fell into the 
hands of the Turks and the Byzantine Empire came to 
an end. The crescent or new moon which had been the 
symbol used b\' the Greeks for their capital was also 


appropriated by the conquerors, and from this time 
onward it became symbolic of the Turk. 

Early Christian Art — In the year 313 a.d. the 
Emperor Constantine issued from Milan the famous 
edict which gav-e the official sanction to Christianity. 
It granted to Christians the permission to build churches, 
restored to them their confiscated property, and gave 
them the right of holding public offices. Up to this 
time the Christians had worshipped for the most part in 
secret, in catacombs which they hollowed in the earth, 
in deserted temples, or in caves and private rooms, and 
they had erected but few buildings of their own. With 
the publication of the edict they could hold their services 
without fear of danger, and at once numbers of new 
churches were erected. 

The most important of these early buildings were 
erected in Rome and in Syria, and in consequence the 
so-called " Early Christian " style was composed of 
elements from Rome and from the Hellenized East. 
The greater number of these churches took the form of 
oblong halls divided by rows of pillars into long aisles, 
and were terminated by an apse and sanctuary. There 
has been endless discussion as to derivation of these 
Constantinian basilicae which were probably modelled on 
one or other of several types of Roman buildings. A 
second early Christian architectural form was the 
circular baptistery or tomb, which probably followed the 
design of the Roman circular temple. 

Among the early Christian buildings erected by 
Constantine in the Near East were the basilicie that 
marked the seven sites that he had newly dedicated in 
the Holy Land. The Christians in Syria soon followed 
the Emperor's example, and a number of churches were 
built in different parts of the country. The architects of 


these buildings were probably for the most part Asiatic 
Greeks, but they were aided no doubt by Syrians and 
Persians. In the Hellenistic cities of Ctesiphon and 
Seleucia, Persians and Greeks had for many years lived 
side by side, and as a result, an interchange of artistic 
ideas and methods of construction had taken place. 
These early Christian buildings in Syria had in con- 
sequence markedly oriental features, and in some 
instances consisted of a simple rectangle with a dome 
from which the Greek cross type of building was after- 
wards evolved. 

Early Christian art gave birth to two important archi- 
tectural styles. One was the Romanesque style, which 
grew up slowly in the West and out of which Gothic art 
was finally evolved. The second was the Byzantine 

The growth of Christianity gave fresh impulse, not 
only to architecture, but to the lesser arts also. The 
fathers of the Church turned to artists for aid, in order 
that their buildings, by means of carvings, paintings, 
and mosaics, should be a preaching of the Word. In a 
sermon of St Basil's (a.d. 379) we find the following 
exhortation, " Rise up now, I pray you, ye celebrated 
painters of the good deeds of this army. Make glorious 
by your art the mutilated images of their leader. With 
colours laid on by your cunning, make illustrious the 
crowned martyr, by me too feebly pictured. I retire 
vanquished before you in your painting of the excellences 
of the martyr. . . ." 

Among the most frequent early Christian symbols, 
the majority of which are preserved to this day, are the 
following : — A lamb alone, with a nimbus and sometimes 
a cross, or else a throne alone — Jesus. A dove — the 
Holy Spirit. Two hands holding a crown — the Eternal 


Father. A peacock or an eagle — the triumph of the 
Church, or of Christ. The phoenix of Arabia — eternal 
life. The stag — baptism. The eagle, ox, angel, and 
Hon — the four Evangelists SS. John, Luke, Matthew, and 
Mark. Lambs issuing from two huts and walking in a 
meadow by a river towards Jesus, who stands or sits by 
the river's source — The Pilgrim Church : the faithful 
coming from Jerusalem or Bethlehem to meet at the 
spring of eternal life. 

Byzantine Art. Historic Outline and General 
Characteristics — Byzantine art has been divided into 
the following four periods : — 

1. From the Foundation of Constantinople 
(330 A.D.) until the Beginning of the Iconoclastic 
Period — This represents the experimental period and 
the golden age of its achievement. Figure sculpture had 
not yet become dominated by Eastern ideals, and was 
largely realistic in treatment, but by the sixth century 
mosaics were splendidly conventionalized and attained 
great beauty. The Byzantine style of architecture be- 
came distinctive about the }'ear 450 A.D. Great develop- 
ment of trade. The great buildings of this period were 
S. Sophia, the early basilicae in Rome and the early 
churches at Ravenna, etc. The artistic centres of the Near 
East, at first Alexandria and Antioch, then Byzantium 

2. The Iconoclastic Period — The Emperor Leo III. 
(717-740 A.D.) was an adventurer from the mountainous 
regions of Isauria. We are told by Gibbon that he was 
" ignorant of sacred and profane letters ; but his education, 
his reason, perhaps his intercourse with the Jews and 
Arabs had inspired the martial peasant with a hatred of 
all images." One reason for this hatred can be found in 
the fact that many of the people were beginning to 


endow the images with mysterious power, beheving that 
they could work miracles and were in some occult way 
the medium of the saints. In spite of the opposition of 
the people, whose sympathies were monastic, and who 
were led by the priests themselves, Leo joined himself to 
the iconoclastic party, which thought the growing power 
of the monks a danger to the State. He began to wage 
war against all sacred imagery, causing numberless works 
of art to be destroyed, and prohibited the further 
production of religious art of a monumental kind. He 
further determined to enforce his beliefs by an edict of 
the General Council of the Church, but in this he was 
defeated by Pope Gregory H., who pronounced his ideas 
as heretical. 

The iconoclastic controversy brought monumental art 
only to a standstill. Hundreds of artists and craftsmen, 
prohibited from following their callings, turned from 
religious to Hellenistic motives, and devoted themselves to 
ivory and goldsmith's work, miniature painting, and con- 
ventional decorative design. Eastern in inspiration. By 
about the middle of the ninth century, mosaic and painted 
figures began to be used once more in decoration, and a 
general artistic revival set in, furthered by the growing 
prosperity of the empire under the Macedonian dynasty. 

3. From the Beginning of the Macedonian 
Dynasty (Basil I., 867 A.D.) to the Sack of 
Constantinople (1204 A.D.) — The second great age of 
Byzantine art. It was two-fold in character, being 
imperial and secular, and inspired by classic tradition, 
while at the same time the monastic art of the times 
continued and preserved its strict and severe traditions. 
Masterpieces of each type were frequent, both historic 
and ecclesiastical. The greatest existing building of this 
style and period was S. Marco, Venice (eleventh century). 


4. From the Restoration until the Turkish 
Conquest (1453 A.D.) — Although many fine works of 
art were produced during this period, it was, on the 
whole, an age of artistic decline and slow decadence. As 
the Empire was impoverished, fewer works were executed 
in precious metal and ivory. 

Byzantine art had no period of struggle and slow 
development, and passed through no archaic stage. It 
represented the union of the mature stj'les of the nearer 
East and West, and showed small desire to draw fresh 
truth from nature, being content instead to blend the 
stored fruits of its knowledge for the production of its 
masterpieces. Its chief element was not so much the 
art of Rome, but of Sassanid Persia, and the Hellenized 
East. It was from the East that it acquired its dislike 
of realistic representation, its love of domed and vaulted 
buildings, and its delight in oriental decorative pattern 
and sumptuous richness of colour. It was above all a 
great decorative art — formal, splendid, ceremonial, and 
reflecting the set ritual of the Court and the Church. We 
find the key to it, not in nature and the spontaneous joy 
and beauty of life, but in some such scene as Gibbon has 
described, when telling of the visit of Luitprand, Bishop 
of Cremona, to the Emperor Constantine VII. in the 
year 948 A.D., " When he (Luitprand) approached the 
throne the birds of the golden tree began to warble their 
notes, which were accompanied by the roaring of two 
lions of gold. With his companions, Luitprand was 
compelled to bow and to fall prostrate, and thrice to 
touch the ground with his forehead. He arose, but in 
the short time the throne had been hoisted from the floor 
to the ceiling, the Imperial figure appeared in new and 
more gorgeous apparel, and the interview was concluded 
in haughty and majestic silence." Here we have all the 


set pageantry and convention of Byzantine decoration, 
which was magnificent for its purpose, but which, in the 
end, was destined to lose its power and force owing to 
its lack of fresh stimulus and inspiration, and its divorce 
from life. 

Byzantine art was sternly controlled by the Eastern 
Church which turned in perhaps not unnatural reaction 
from the pagan love of form, as shown in the sculptures 
of Greece and Rome, and employed art instead in a 
decorative manner only, as an expounder of dogma, and 
an expression of East Christian ideas. In this way it 
forms an interesting contrast to Gothic art, the product 
of the Western Church some centuries later, which 
mirrored faithfully every joy and sorrow of the human 

Mosaics and Painting — In the second Council of 
Nicea, held in the year 787 A.D. the following statement, 
found in the Acts, shows the attitude of the medieval 
Church towards painting. " It is not the invention of the 
painter which creates pictures but an inviolable law, a 
tradition of the Church. It is not the painters but the 
Holy Fathers who have to invent and dictate. To them 
manifestly belongs the composition, to the painter only 
the execution." This paragraph is interesting in con- 
nexion with both Byzantine mosaics and painting. It 
shows us once more how tradition took the place of 
nature, and led to both the greatness and weakness of 
Byzantine art. 

The fine qualities have been well described by Mr 
Dalton. " If the art of the Christian East is lacking in 
freshness and enthusiasm, it is spared solecisms and 
' uncertainties of inspiration.' The restraint of an ever- 
present law may impoverish imagination, but it forbids 
rhetoric, and lends to the artistic language the stately 


grandeur of a liturgy. The mean and trivial accidents of 
life do not intrude into the sphere of these high abstrac- 
tions ; the vulgar and the foolish thing does not come 
nigh them. . . . This art avoids false pathos, false unction, 
feeble sentiment. It is neither over-violent nor over-sweet. 
. . . Perhaps it was after all a happy destiny which held 
the East-Christian art of the Middle Ages in a servitude 
so august and transcendental. ... It is greatest, it is 
most itself, when it frankly renounces nature ; its highest 
level is perhaps attained where, as in the best m.osaic, a 
grave schematic treatment is imposed, where no illusion 
of receding distance, no preoccupation with anatomy, is 
suffered to distract the eye from the central mystery of 
the symbol. The figures that ennoble these walls often 
seem independent of earth ; they owe much of their 
grandeur to their detachment. They exert a compelling 
and almost a magical power just because they stand upon 
the very line between that which lives and that which is 
abstracted." ^ The weakness of Byzantine drawing and 
painting became apparent after the Restoration. 
Byzantine art had never been dramatic, and had never 
been filled with the warmth of human joys and sorrows, 
and when the artistic creeds became outworn and lifeless, 
the artists had lost their imaginative power, and were 
content to copy drawings which were often in themselves 
copies, and to accept such guidance as has been preserved 
to us in the " Guide to Painting," a collection of artistic 
precepts collected by the monk Dionysius, in the sixteenth 
or early seventeenth century from the works of an earlier 
and famous Byzantine painter, Manuel Panselinos of 
Thessalonica, who may have lived as early as the thirteenth 
century. In this guide, exact directions are laid down 
for the execution of all well-known scenes from Bible 

^ Byzantine Art and Archeology. O. M. Dalton. Clarendon Press. 





history. As an example of the tyranny imposed, the 
following extract may be quoted : — 

Adoration of Magi 

" A house. The holy Virgin seated, holding the infant 
Christ who blesses. Before her, the Magi present their 
gifts in golden shrines. One of the kings, an old man 
with a great beard and head uncovered, kneels and gazes 
on the Christ ; with one hand he proffers Him his gift, 
and with the other holds his crown. The second king 
has very little beard, the third none at all. Joseph stands 
in wonder behind the holy Virgin. Outside the grotto a 
youth holds the three horses by the bridle. In the back- 
ground, the three Magi are again seen returning to their 
country ; an angel goes before to show the wa}-." ^ We 
also read of the saint who was to be portrayed with 
"complexion the colour of wheat; hair, eyes, brown; 
grand eyebrows and beautiful eyes ; clad in beautiful 
clothing ; humble, beautiful, faultless," a type that was 
final and changeless to the Byzantine mind. 

Byzantine painting was generally executed in tempera 
upon plaster or a wooden panel, the outlines of the design 
being often drawn in with gold. Some of the frescoes 
are still existing, and the paintings, which were exported 
by the merchants, have been spread far and wide. 
Numberless miniatures were also produced in the 
monasteries, and these and the panel pictures executed 
an immense influence upon the art of other countries, 
particularly upon Italian art which was brought into so 
close a touch with that of Byzantium. Even until the 
present da}* the Byzantine tradition is the chief force in 
the painting of many parts of Greece, Russia, and Asia 

* Didron's Christian Iconography. Trans. Margaret Stokes. Bohn. 


Mosaics were the most splendid expression of Byzantine 
decorative art. The art, which was an ancient one, had 
probably been derived from the East, and was raised to a 
position of importance in Eg}'pt in Ptolemaic times. 
From there it spread both to the East again and to the 
West, where in Rome it grew to be very popular. The 
Romans, however, chiefly employed tesser<2 (small cubes) 
of coloured marbles for their mosaics, while the Byzantines 
preferred glass tessene of various colours. Gold and 
silver tessenx were made by laying gold and silver leaf 
upon the back of the glass and then covering the leaf by 
a second thin film of glass to protect it. The mosaics 
were placed in position by means of cement, and the 
"■lowing richness of the solemn figures against their 
golden backgrounds formed a sumptuous and splendid 
decoration to dome or wall. 

From the time when the Roman princess, Galla Placidia, 
returned from Constantinople in the beginning of the 
fifth century and took up her residence at Ravenna, until 
the end of the sixth century, this town, which had become 
the artistic centre of Ital}', was the most famous centre of 
the mosaic industry, and was renowned for the magnificent 
mosaic decorations of its churches. In the early days 
Venice was under artistic allegiance to Constantinople, and 
among later mosaics those in the churches of S. Marco 
and the cathedral at Torcello, dating from the eleventh 
century, may be mentioned. Fine mosaics were also 
produced in the Sicilian churches in the twelfth century, 
although in Sicily the Byzantine craftsmen were probably 
helped by their Western pupils. 

Sculpture — One of the immediate effects of Chris- 
tianity was a distaste on the part of the Christians for 
monumental figure sculpture, which to their minds was 
associated with the rites of pagan worship. This dislike 



was also shared by the all-conquering Arabs, who read in 
the preachings of Mohammed a prohibition of anything 
appertaining to idol-worship, a fact which no doubt had its 
influence on the Byzantines who were in constant touch 
with the Mohammedans. At this time also, the general 
trend of opinion as to artistic decoration in the Near 
East was in favour of elaborate pattern as opposed to a 
naturalistic treatment of forms, and Byzantine art, being 
partly Eastern in spirit, shared to a certain extent the 
common preference. 

As the nude was not studied as in classic times such 
few figures as were carved soon lost their close relation to 
life. Figure sculpture became a dependent of archi- 
tecture and was chiefly concerned with the depicting of 
members of the Imperial family, high officials, or famous 
characters from sacred story. Delicate gradations of 
relief were avoided, and carvings were largely confined to 
two planes so that a strong effect of light and shade, 
without half tones, should be obtained, and the effect of 
strong pattern produced. Some of the most beautiful 
Byzantine sculptures are shown on the capitals of columns 
and on the pulpits, or ambones, in the churches. Here 
we find the most delicate patterns of natural forms, plants, 
birds and animals, and also entwined scroll-work and 
geometrical designs. Among the most famous of the 
carvings are those in ivory, the diptyches, ikons, caskets, 
bookcovers, and tablets, many of which were originally 
coloured and gilded. The goldsmith's work, tapestry weav- 
ing, and the art of enamelling also attained great beauty, 
and served to keep the Eastern tradition alive in Europe. 

Architecture — Once or twice in the world's history a 
people have become suddenly creative as builders. This 
was the case with the Byzantines, who drawing their 
inspiration from the massive buildings of the Romans, and 


those of Sassanid Persia, and the Hellenized Orient, 
produced a splendid style of their own, one which showed 
in the words of Choisy, " The Greek spirit working on 
Asiatic elements." After the time of Justinian the dome 
became the dominating feature of the Byzantine style 
which in this way became sharply differentiated from the 
Early Christian style. The differing artistic elements 
that were incorporated into the Byzantine system of 
building were gradually unified and controlled by the 
ritual of the Catholic faith and grew to be a Hellenic and 
oriental expression of Christianity. The ancient building 
which by every line suggested repose and solidity now gave 
place to one in which a continual striving, stress and 
thrust, met by counter pressure, produced a completely 
new and modern constructional style. 

This new architecture was continually experimental ; 
it was " vividly alive and inventive, frank, bright, and full 
of colour and yet as rational in its choice and application 
as in the construction." It showed the Greek genius in 
its final triumph, changed, orientalized, but still splendidly 
creative. The old Corinthian capital was superseded by 
new and beautiful forms, one being the so-called impost 
capital, in which the impost and capital, instead of being 
two stones, were merged into one. The engineering which 
made brick walls support enormous domes was unsur- 
passed. The summing up of the Byzantine style in its 
complete beauty is found in Justinian's church of Sancta 

Sancta Sophia — The first church of Sancta Sophia 
(Holy Wisdom) was built, according to the historian 
Socrates, by the Emperor Constantine, who joined it to 
the Church of Irene which had been erected by his 
father. It was dedicated in the year 360 A.D., thirty-four 
)'ears after its foundations were laid, and was twice 


injured by fire, the second occasion being at the time of 
the Nika rebellion, when it was razed to the ground. 
The new church of Justinian was built by a Greek, 
Anthemius of Tralles, with the help of another Greek 
architect, Isidorus of Miletus. It was begun on 
23 February, 532 A.D., and was finished and dedi- 
cated on 26 December, 537. In the year 558 it was 
damaged by an earthquake and restored by Isidorus, 
Anthemius being dead. In the chronicle of Procopius, 
which was probably finished by the year 558 or 559 A.D. 
we read that " Anthemius of Tralles, the most skilled in 
the builders' art, not only of his own but of all former 
times, carried forward the king's zealous intentions, 
organized the labours of the workmen and prepared 
models of the building," ^ while, Paulus, an official and 
poet of Justinian's court, wrote that " Anthemius, skilled 
in setting out a plan, laid the foundations." ^ 

Agathias, a second historian, although he was not a 
contemporary of Anthemius, came to Constantinople in 
the year 554 A.D., and has left us further particulars of the 
great architect. He says that Anthemius " was the man 
who devised and worked at every part," and " gave to the 
walls strength to resist the pushing arches, which were 
like active demons."^ He then adds some interesting 
particulars of the architect and his family. 

" Now this Anthemius was born at Tralles, and he was 
an inventor of machines ; one of those who apply designs 
to material, and make models and imitations of real 
things. He was distinguished in this, and had reached 
the summit of mathematical knowledge, just as his brother 
was distinguished in letters. Besides these, there were 
three other brothers. Olympus, famous for his knowledge 
of law, and Dioscorus and Alexander, both skilled in 

* Sam/a Sophia. Lethaby & Swainson. Macmillan. ^ Ibid. ^ Ibid. 


medicine. Of these Dioscorus lived in his native land, 
and Alexander in Old Rome. But the fame of the skill 
of Anthemius and Metrodorus reached the Emperor, and 
they were invited to Constantinople, where they spent the 
rest of their lives, each presenting wonderful examples of 
his skill. One taught letters, the other raised wonderful 
buildings throughout the city, and in many other places ; 
these, . I think, even if nothing were said about them, as 
long as they remained unharmed, would be sufficient to 
win for him perpetual glory." ^ 

In planning S. Sophia, which is one of the finest build- 
ings in the world, Anthemius was probabh' influenced by 
three types of churches already erected in Constantinople. 
These were the church of S. Sergius, which was square 
and domed ; the church of S. John Studius, which was 
Basilican in form ; and the Church of the Apostles, which 
was built in cruciform st}'le. S. Sophia seems a s}'nthesis 
of these three types, and shows, as its most striking 
characteristics, the introduction of the impost capital, and 
the merging of all subsidiary spaces in one great central 
building. The immense dome, which dominates the city, 
seems " poised rather than supported ; no dome floats 
like that of S. Sophia." The outside of the church, as is 
often the case in Byzantine buildings, is somewhat gaunt 
and bare, but the inside, in spite of the whitewash, which 
b\' order of the Mohammedans now covers almost all the 
mosaics, is magnificent. There is no better description of 
it than that written by Procopius, who saw it in the first 
flush of its new glory. 

" The church . . . presents a most glorious spectacle, 
extraordinary to those who behold it, and altogether 
incredible to those who are told of it. In height it rises 
to the very heavens, and overtops the neighbouring build- 

^ Sancta Sophia. Lethaby and Swainson. Macmillan. 


ings like a ship anchored among them, appearing 
above the rest of the city, which it adorns, and forms 
a part of it. One of its beauties is that, being a 
part of, and growing out of the city, it rises so high 
that the whole city can be seen as from a watch tower. 
The length and breadth are so judiciously arranged 
that it appears to be both long and wide without being 
disproportionate. ... 

Let us now proceed to describe the remaining parts of 
the church. The entire ceiling is covered with pure gold, 
which adds to its glory, though the reflections of the gold 
upon the marble surpass it in beauty. Who could tell 
the beauty of the columns and marbles with which the 
church is adorned ? One would think that one had come 
across a meadow full of flowers in bloom ! Who would 
not admire the purple tints of some and the green of 
others, the glowing red and the glittering white, and 
those too which Nature, painter-like, has marked with the 
strongest contrasts of colour ? Whoever enters there to 
worship perceives at once that it is not by any human 
strength or skill, but by favour of God, that the work has 
been perfected ; the mind rises sublime to commune with 
God, feeling that He cannot be far off, but must especially 
love to dwell in the place that He has chosen ; and this 
is felt, not only when a man sees it for the first time, but 
it always makes the same impression upon him, as though 
he had never seen it before." ^ 


A description of S. Sophia, being part of an opening 
ode by the Court poet and official Paulus, recited on 
^ Sancla SoJ>hia. Lethaby and Swainson. Macmillan. 


December 24th, 563 A.D., perhaps in the church itself, or 
in the hall of the Imperial Palace. 

" Whoever raises his eyes to the beauteous firmament of the roof, 
scarce dares to gaze on its rounded expanse sprinkled with the stars 
of heaven, but turns to the fresh green marble below, seeming, as it 
were, to see flower-bordered streams of Thessaly, and budding corn, 
and woods thick with trees ; leaping flocks too, and twining olive- 
trees and the vine with green tendrils, or the deep blue peace of 
summer sea, broken by the plashing oars of spray-girt ship. Who- 
ever puts foot within the sacred fane would live there for ever, and 
his eyes will fill with tears of joy. Thus by divine counsel, while 
angels watched, was the temple built again. 

" At last the holy man had come, and the great door of the new- 
built temple groaned on its opening hinges, inviting the emperor 
and people to enter ; and when the inner part was seen sorrow fled 
from the hearts of all, as the sun lit the glories of the temple. 'Twas 
for the emperor to lead the way for his people and on the morrow 
to celebrate the birth of Christ. And when the first gleam of 
light, rosy-armed, driving away the dark shadows, leapt from 
arch to arch, then all the princes and people with one voice 
hymned their songs and prayer and praise ; and as they came to 
the sacred courts, it seemed to them as if the mighty arches were 
set in heaven. 

"Yet who, even in the measures of Homer, shall song the marble 
pastures gathered on the lofty walls and spreading pavement of 
the mighty church ? These the iron with its metal tooth has 
gnawed, the fresh green from Carystus, and many-coloured marble 
from the Phrygian range, in which a rosy blush mingles with white, 
or it shines bright with flowers of deep red and silver. There is a 
wealth of porphyry too, powdered with bright stars, that has once 
laden the river-boat on the broad Nile. You would see an emerald 
green from Spata, and the glittering marble with watery veins, which 
the tool has worked in the deep bosom of the Jassian hills, showing 
slanting streaks blood-red and livid white. From the Lydian creek 
came the bright stone mingled with streaks of red. Stone, too, there 
is, that the Lybian sun warming with his golden light has nurtured 
in the deep-bosomed depths of the hills of the Moors, of crocus 
colour glittering like gold ; and the product of the Celtic crags, a 
wealth of crystal like milk poured here and there on a flesh of 
glittering black. There is the precious ony.x as if gold were shining 


through it ; and the marble that the land of Atrax yields, not from 
same upland glen, but from the level plains ; in part fresh green as 
the sea or emerald stone, or again like blue cornflowers in grass. 
With here and there a drift of fallen snow ... a sweet mingled contrast 
on the dark shining surface." ^ 

1 Saucta Sophia. Lelhaby and Swainson. Macmilian. 


Part I. — Elementary Lesson in Story Form 

INTRODUCTION— Last Lesson. — This is a story about a young 
prince who was born rather more than two hundred years after 
Sancta Sophia was built by Justinian. This prince was not a 
Greek or Roman, but an Arab. Many of his fellow-countrymen lived 
wandering lives in the desert and slept in tents at night. Others 
dwelt in big cities, for the Arabs had grown to be a very powerful 
nation, and had conquered a great many countries. 

I. The Caliphate of the East. Abderrahman's 
Escape — Abderrahman was a tall young Arab prince. 
He had reddish hair, parted in two long curls, ruddy 
cheeks, and a keen and clever face. He lived far away 
in Syria in a town called Damascus. Inside in the palace 
there were beautiful rugs and carpets, and gold and 
enamelled cups and plates, and rich silk hangings, covered 
with embroidery. Outside, in the courtyard, palms and 
orange trees made a welcome shade from the burning sun, 
and when night fell and the moon rose, the nightingales 
sang enchantingly, and little fountains, full of gold and 
silver fish, plashed and murmured and threw their crystal 
showers into the fragrant dusk. 

Abderrahman was as happy as the day is long until a 
terrible thing happened. A wicked and cruel man of the 
House of Abbas determined that Abderrahman's family 
should rule no more in Damascus and that he himself 
should be the Caliph or governor. He was so powerful 



that no one could stop him. He had all Abderrahman's 
family put to death, and would have killed the young 
prince too, if he had not happened to be away in the 
country at the time. 

Being warned by friends of the danger that he was 
in, Abderrahman called his young brother and his friends 
and they fled together secretly, to a little village on the 
banks of the river Euphrates. Here they pitched their 
tents and rested, thinking themselves out of danger. 
They did not know that the enemy, led by the sons of 
the House of Abbas, was marching after them, their 
black banners fluttering in the wind. 

One evening, when Abderrahman was sitting in his 
tent, sheltering from a storm of rain and wind that was 
passing over the land, and watching the great river as 
it rushed along between its banks, swollen and turbulent, 
he heard sounds of disturbance from the direction of the 
village. He was just going to look what was happening 
when his brother burst into the tent crying, " Away, away 
with thee, O brother, for yonder black banners are the 
banners of the house of Abbas ! " 

Abderrahman gave one look at the approaching horse- 
men, and calling to his friends to follow, rushed to the 
river where there were bushes and trees that would afford 
some cover from the enemy. Hardly had he left his tent 
before it was surrounded by the soldiers, who quickly 
ransacked it, and furious at finding their quarry escaped, 
turned in the direction of the river. 

Abderrahman saw that one chance of safety only was 
left to him. Calling to the others to follow suit he 
plunged into the great river just as the soldiers reached 
its banks. Baulked in their purpose, the soldiers shouted 
aloud in their anger, but they dared not follow the young 
prince because of the wild rush of the water. At first 


Abderrahman thought that all was over. The current 
ran so swiftly that time and again he felt himself to be 
battling against it in vain. Fortune favoured him, how- 
ever, and at last he reached the other side in safety and 
sank down exhausted by his faithful servant Bedr, who 
had kept close to his master's side and had braved the 
river with him. 

2. The Years of Wandering — Then followed years 
of wandering. Abu Abbas, the enemy, was Caliph in 
Damascus, and Abderrahman dared not return to his 
old home. But in spite of this he found many friends. 
The Arab kingdom was a very large one, and in Egypt 
and Morocco the young prince found wandering tribes 
who befriended him, and who sympathized with his family 
rather than with that of the new Caliph, the usurper. 
These wandering Arabs and Berbers asked Abderrahman 
to live with them and share their tents, for they were 
charmed by his noble bearing and his courage and 
energy. He was very happy in his new life, for all 
Arabs have an instinctive love of the desert. Yet some- 
times, when he sat before his tent in the evening, and 
watched the sun as it set, turning the world to a vision 
of gold and flame, his eyes would search the interminable 
wastes of sand which lay around him like a great and 
limitless sea, boundless and forsaken, and he would 
wonder if beyond them a new kingdom waited for him. 
The old Caliphate of the East was closed to him. Why 
should not he, Abderrahman, rule over a new and glorious 
Arab kingdom in the West ? 

His thoughts turned to Spain, the country that lay 
beyond Morocco, across the Straits. There were Arabs 
living there, and some of them had begged him to settle 
in the country and govern them. The thought of the 
beautiful and fertile land never left him, and one day, 


when he was by the sea, he felt he could wait no longer. 
He called his faithful Bedr, and pointing across the 
Straits to where the Spanish shores were faintly visible 
through the haze of heat and sunshine, he said, " See, 
yonder is Spain ; take a boat, cross over, and see what 
welcome will await me if I follow thee as a new ruler and 
leader for the people." 

Then followed long days, when Abderrahman waited 
by the sea-shore, always watching until the boat should 
return and Bedr should bring him tidings of Spain. One 
morning when the prince was kneeling on the shore in 
the sunshine, saying his prayers, a white figure against 
the blue sea, he heard a shout. The boat was in sight, 
and soon Abderrahman could recognize the figure of 
Bedr standing on the bows. By him were some strangers, 
Arabs, whom he did not know. What news did they 
bring? At last the boat reached the shore, and Bedr 
fell on his knees before his master, kissing his hand. He 
told him that he had brought friends, eager to welcome 
him to Spain. Abderrahman, full of delight, was soon 
ready to start and the boat set sail again for Spain. 
How he watched the shores of the new land as they 
became clearer and more distinct every hour ! How 
soon would he be ruler over them ? 

At last the ship slipped into the harbour, where many 
Arabs were waiting to welcome their new ruler. But 
there were other Arabs too, who were not eager to meet 
him, and Abderrahman had many battles to fight before, 
with the help of his friends, he captured the town of 
Cordova and settled down there to rule the land. 

Cordova and the Mosque — Abderrahman determined 
that Cordova should be one of the most beautiful towns 
in the world. He remembered Damascus where he had 
lived as a child, and decided to copy some of its most 


famous buildings. First he set to work to beautify the 
old Cordova palace or alcazar. When the rooms were 
richly furnished with exquisite rugs, silks, and embroideries, 
and costly and beautiful objects of every kind, the new 
Sultan turned his thoughts to the garden. He dearly 
loved flowers and choice fruits ; so calling a clever botanist 
and giving him money he said to him, " I want you to go 
to far-away lands and collect rare and choice plants, trees, 
and seeds of every kind, and what you find, bring back 
to me, so that my fair gardens and this beautiful town 
shall break into bud and blossom from end to end." 

There was another plan that Abderrahman had made, 
and for this he cared more than for all the others. He 
believed in the teaching of an old Arabian called 
Mohammed, the Prophet, long since dead, and this was one 
of the things that he said, " Whosoever builds for God a 
place of worship, be it only as the nest of a grouse, God 
buildeth for him a place in Paradise," So Abderrahman 
determined that he would please God and Mohammed by 
building a great mosque or church, as like as possible to 
the mosque at Damascus where he had worshipped as a 
child. He sent for clever builders, and ordering hundreds 
of his own Arabs to make ready, the work was soon 

Day after day Abderrahman came to watch the progress 
of the building. How fast it grew ! It stood high above 
the river, and had great walls which enclosed an open 
court which Abderrahman planted with orange trees and 
palms. At one end of the court was a covered- in space, 
and day by day fresh columns were added to support its 
roof Abderrahman thought that even then the mosque 
was beautiful, but if he had onh- known, his successors 
were to make it far more wonderful still. Then, in their 
day, the mosque would glow with colour and richness. A 



forest of columnB, made of porphyry, jasper and coloured 
marbles of everjJ sort, and bright with inlay of lapis-lazuH 
would support tile roof The Byzantine Emperor would 
send from Byzan :ium a shipload of little glass cubes for 
the mosaics, and wonderful jewels and ivory and sweet- 
scented woods W' )uld be brought from far distant lands to 
increase the beauty of the great mosque. 

Abderrahman 'wandered through the building da}- after 
day, standing in the dim light among the shadowy aisles, 
gazing up at the horse-shoe arches above him, and some- 
times ascending the pulpit and preaching to the people 
who had already begun to crowd the mosque. The 
servants of the building strewed flowers up and down 
among the pillars and arches, and their fragrance mixed 
with the sweet scent of ambergris and aloe wood which 
burnt in the swinging censers hanging from the roof 

One evening Abderrahman left the mosque and turned 
to retrace his steps to the palace. Rich carpets were 
spread for him to walk on ; servants followed him, and 
the people bowed as he passed. But he was tired. He 
was growing old and he walked slowly. The mosque 
was not finished, and he knew that the task of completing 
it must be left to his son. On reaching the palace he 
signed to his servants to leave him, and entering the 
gardens, he sank down upon a marble seat. The dusk 
fell ; the water lilies in the fountain basins gleamed palely 
in the dim light and the dew lay thickly upon the leaves 
and flowers. A nightingale burst into song in a bush 
near by, and its mate answered it joyfully from among 
the fragrance of the orange blossom. Down by the river 
the frogs croaked in a monotonous chorus. Abderrahman 
rose and returned slowly to the palace, but he could not 
sleep. At midnight he heard faintly in the distance the 
cry of the watcher at the mosque, " God is great, to pray 


is better than to sleep." At four o'clock his cry sounded 
faintly again, " Day is breaking, let God be praised." 
The old man could not sleep, but he was happy, for, when 
he had passed away, he knew that his great mosque would 
remain, his lasting memorial throughout the centuries. 

Notes on the Story — Abderrahman I. was the son of Moawia, and 
grandson of the Caliph Hisham Ibn Abdil-Malek. (See under 
" Caliphate of the West.") The story is founded on the full account 
given by the old Arabian historian Ibn Hayyam in his Muktabis^ and 
quoted at length in Al Makkari's History of the Mahovunedan 
Dynasties in Spain^ which was written in the sixteenth century and 
translated into English in 1843. ^^ has been chosen rather than any 
other story in Arab history because it brings in both the Caliphates, 
and also because an Arabian mosque in Spain is more accessible to 
Europeans than one in the East, and in consequence is better known 
to them. The last scene of the story is imaginary and also the scene 
in the desert. 

A convent now stands on the site of Abderrahman's palace ofRessafah, 
and with the exception of the mosque and bridge and a part of the 
walls and towers, very little remains of the buildings of the Omayyad 
princes of Cordova. 

Part II. — Material for Advanced Lessons only 

The Arabs. Civilization, Religion, Wars, Dominion 

— The Arabs, or inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula, 
were a people composed of various tribes, which differed 
from one another in character, customs and religious 
belief Modern Arabians describe the period before the 
birth of Mohammed as " the time of ignorance," but it was, 
in point of fact, an age of great culture. Before the time 
of the Persian Conquest of Arabia in the sixth century 
A.D. the Yemenite Arabs had enjoyed centuries of refined 
and luxurious civilization. A legendary queen of Yemen, 
the Queen of Sheba of the Bible, paid a visit to the court 
of King Solomon at Jerusalem about the year 1000 B.C., 


while some of the Arabian inscriptions that have been 
found have been attributed by some scholars to the ninth, 
and by others to the sixteenth, century B.C. Sana, the 
capital of Southern Arabia, was a city of much wealth, 
and the accounts of its beauty and luxury, when conquered 
by the Persians, read like a fairy tale. At the time of 
this conquest many of the Yemenite Arabs were driven 
out of their country and took refuge in what they called 
" the wilderness of Egypt," and it was here that their 
friendship with the Copts began, which was to play so 
important a part in connection with Arab Art. 

Whereas a large number of the Yemenite Arabs were 
Christians of the Monophysite sect, like the Copts, the 
mass of the people worshipped jinns and fetiches of 
the simplest kinds, and vaguely acknowledged " Allah the 
God." Over three hundred tribal idols were kept in the 
Ka-ba at Mecca in the sixth century, while the chief object 
of worship was a black stone, preserved in the sanctuary. 

With the coming of Mohammed, all this came to an end. 
The wealth and prosperity of the country, which owing 
to the growth of shipping and the subsequent loss of the 
caravan trade had been on the decline, were strengthened 
and renewed and the great era of Arab civilization began. 
This era of supremacy lasted from the death of the 
Prophet until the fall of the Caliphate of Baghdad 
in 1258 A.D. 

The prophet, or Apostle, as he was called, was born at 
Mecca in Northern Arabia, in the year 568 or 569 A.D. 
He believed himself to be divinely appointed as the 
mouthpiece of the Deity, and held that his chief duty 
was to abolish the old Arabian pagan beliefs, particularly 
all forms of idol worship, and in their place to substitute 
and restore the ancient religion of Abraham, or, as he 
called him, Ibraham. He preached the unity of God and 



the resurrection of the body, but not the doctrine of the 
Trinity or the beliefs of the New Testament. Certain 
Arabian customs and beHefs were incorporated into the 
new doctrine, which was called Islam by Mohammed, but 
was more generally known as Mohammedanism, and a 
declaration of all of these beliefs was collected by the 
prophet in the Koran, which was composed of a series of 
tracts or pamphlets, written by him at various times. 

Religious wars were an essential part of the creed of 
Mohammed, although the Jews and Christians, the " people 
of the Book," were often allowed to pursue their religion 
in peace, and tribute only was exacted from them. The 
Yemenite Arabs were tolerant and gentle to their enemies, 
but the Syrian Arabs allowed small quarter to the heathen 
and followed the doctrines of the Koran — " Fight in the 
cause of Allah ! . . . The spoils are Allah's and the Prophet's. 
When you meet those who misbelieve, strike off their 
heads. . . . Ye shall be called out against a people endowed 
with vehement valour, and shall fight them or they shall 
become Moslems. . . . Allah promised you many spoils." 
And again, " Stir up the faithful to the fight. Twenty 
of you who stand firm shall vanquish two hundred, and 
a hundred shall put a thousand to flight . . . and be ye 
steadfast and fear Allah and if the foe come upon you in 
haste, Allah will succour you with five thousand angels." 
The Arabians soon gave way before the Moslem troops, 
which, led by the prophet, carried all before them and 
even captured Mecca. The conversion of the people soon 
followed, and fired with fresh zeal, Mohamed conceived 
the idea of sending missions to all sovereigns and rulers, 
promising them safety on the condition that they em- 
braced Islam. 

Then followed the extraordinary story of Moslem 
conquests. Mohamed died in the year 632 A.D., but still 


possessed by religious fanaticism, the followers of the 
Prophet swept like a tide westward and eastward. 
Nothing could stop these Arab hordes. The neighbour- 
ing countries fell before them, and before a century had 
passed Mesopotamia, Persia, North Africa, Southern 
Spain, Syria, Western Turkistan, Sind (North India) 
and Egypt formed part of the Arabian Empire, although 
in certain instances the countries were only partially 
subjugated. The followers of the Prophet have been 
known ever since by the name of Saracens, which was 
the name given by the Christians of the Middle Ages to 
their Mohammedan opponents, in particular to those in 
Europe and the Near East. 

The Eastern and Western Caliphates— On the 
death of Mohammed a ruler was appointed to follow him, 
who was known as the Caliph or " Successor " (from the 
Arabic kJialeefa). He was obliged to be of the tribe of 
the Prophet, and was chosen by popular election, according 
to the old Arab custom in electing their Chief The 
Eastern Caliphate was established in 632 A.D., with the 
appointment of Abu-Bekr. Its history falls into three 
main divisions : 

1. The rule of the first four caliphs, the immediate suc- 

cessors of Mohammed. 

2. The rule of the Omayyad caliphs, 661-744 A.D., 

Damascus the capital. 

3. The rule of the Abbasid caliphs, 763-1258 A.D., 

Baghdad the capital. (Capital transferred to 
Samarra, about eighty miles north of Baghdad, 
during the years 836-861.) During this dynasty 
the power of the Arab Empire reached its height 
under the rule of the Caliph Abu-Jafari, known 
as Mansur (754-775). and that of his grandson, 
the Caliph Harun al-Raschid, the splendour and 


luxury of whose court had been immortalized in 
T/^e Thousand and One Nights. 

At the time of the Abbasid succession, Abderrahman, a 
princely refugee of the house of the Omayyads, fled from 
the East and eventually found shelter in Spain, A large 
number of the Spanish Moslems were sworn to fealty to 
the Omayyads, and they gladly welcomed the young 
prince and invited him to rule the country. After much 
fiehtingf with hostile Arab tribes he established his rule 
in Cordova, and it was here that his descendant, the great 
Abderrahman III., founded in the beginning of the tenth 
century the independent Caliphate of the West. This 
Western Caliphate became a brilliant centre of Arab 
culture, renowned for its learning and art, and famous for 
its schools, palaces, and great mosque. 

In the year 1009 A.D. civil war broke out, the Caliph 
Hisham II. was deposed, and a succession of Pretenders 
were set up, and were deposed or killed, until, in the year 
103 I, the rule of the Omayyads at Cordova came to an 
end. (The Yemenite tribes, however, acknowledged as 
their Caliph the deposed grandson of Abderrahman III., 
Hisham II., until his death in about the year 1060.) 

The Moslem Occupation of Spain — The history of 
the Moslem occupation of Spain is an extremely com- 
plicated one owing to the incessant feuds which raged 
between the various conquering tribes inhabiting the 
peninsula. All that need be said on the subject here is 
that the chief among these Moslem tribes were the Yemenite 
and Mudarite Arabs (two eternally hostile tribes), the 
Berbers of N. Africa and the Moors. The term Moor is 
generally used to designate the entire Moslem population 
of Spain, but this is incorrect. The Moors or Almohades 
were a North African tribe who invaded the country in 
1 1 46 A.D., and shortly afterwards ruled in the peninsula. 


The last of them was driven out of Spain in the second 
half of the thirteenth century by the united efforts of St 
Ferdinand and the famous Yemenite Arab Mohammed I. 
of Granada, better known as Al Ahmar, who afterwards 
built the palace of the Alhambra. After the downfall 
of the Caliphate at Cordova the Abbadites, a federation 
of Yemenite Arabs, became rulers of more than half of 
Moslem* Spain, and made their capital of Seville " as 
great a centre of civilization in the eleventh century as 
Cordova had been in the tenth." 

The Arabs in Egypt — The Arabs began the con- 
quest of Egypt in the year 639 A.D., and in 641 the 
country became a province of the Eastern Caliphate. 
Upon the capitulation of Alexandria the victorious 
general 'Amr wrote to the Caliph, " I have taken a city 
of which I can but say that it contains 4000 palaces, 
4000 baths, 400 theatres, 12,000 sellers of vegetables, 
40,000 tributary Jews." The numbers in this letter are 
obviously over-statements, no doubt due to later copyists 
of the letter, but the description serves to give some idea 
of the glories of the city of Alexander the Great. The 
Arabs let the splendid classic buildings fall into decay and 
founded a new capital not far north of the old Egyptian 
capital of Memphis, where 'Amr had pitched his tent 
before marching north upon Alexandria. This new city 
he called " El-Fustat " or "The Tent," and here 'Amr 
built his mosque. The Moslem rule in the valley was 
firmly established, and intermarriage between the Arabs 
and the Copts, or native Egyptians, took place. 

From the years 868-969 A.D. Egypt was ruled by 
Turkish Governors appointed by the Caliphs. Tulun, 
the greatest of them, was appointed in 868, but when a 
year had passed he asserted his independence and had 
his head stamped upon the Egyptian coins. 


■The greatest period of Arab rule in Egypt was during 
the years 909-1 171 A.D., when the Fatimides, who pro- 
fessed to be descendants of the Prophet, governed the 
land. They had previously established a kingdom in 
North Africa, but not content with this, they turned their 
thoughts to the country of the Nile. They not only 
conquered Egypt, but they established an independent 
Caliphate at El Kahira or Cairo, the great suburb which 
they built near El-Fustat. Here they erected splendid 
palaces and mosques, and it is during this period that 
some of the finest examples of Arab art were produced. 

In the year 1171 A.D. Saladin reconquered Egypt for 
the Caliphate of Baghdad. Members of his House ruled 
until the year 1249 A.D., after which date Egypt passed 
under the rule of the Turkish Sultans. 

The Fall of the Arab Empire — The caliphs of 
liaghdad were not able to hold their vast Empire together 
for long. We have seen how separate kingdoms were 
established in Spain, North Africa and Egypt, and in Asia 
Khorasan, Persia, Mesopotamia and Syria also detached 
themselves, although they set up no rival to the Caliphate. 
It was at this time that the Turks from Central Asia and 
the Mongols, who were a branch of the same race, began 
to leave their own districts and to start their long series 
of foreign invasions. The caliphs met the danger in the 
Near East by diverting the energies of the Turks, and 
appointing them as their governors. These men soon 
embraced Mohammedan religion and civilization, and were 
not long in wresting the power from their masters and 
bringing the Arabs under their own rule. In 1055 A.D. 
the Seljuk Turks, having subdued Persia, proceeded to 
Baghdad, where their leader, Turghril Bey, was recog- 
nized in Friday prayers as the lieutenant of the Caliph, 
which meant in reality that he was his master. The end 


of the Caliphate came in the year 1258, when Baghdad 
was sacked by Halaku, the Mongol (sometimes spoken of 
as Halaku the Tartar, Tartar being the name given to 
descendants of the Mongols), while in 1453 A.D. 
Byzantium also was captured, and was occupied by the 

Art. General Characteristics — The Arabs had but 
slight creative artistic instinct and little imagination. 
The conquests that followed the birth of the Prophet with 
such amazing rapidity brought with them the necessity 
for the erection of numberless buildings, and the Arabs 
were content to adopt the current artistic ideals, together 
with the buildings, of each nation that they conquered, 
and to employ foreign workmen in the carrj'ing out of 
their schemes. A more correct title for this lesson would 
have been "art produced under Arab rule." At the same 
time, however, the old name is a more convenient one, 
for wherever the Arab established his dominion certain 
artistic styles are to be found and the Arab is the 
connecting link between them. 

In the words of Dr Martin, " Mohammedan art is only 
a natural development of the antique." Monuments that 
are now ruined were in a state of good preservation at 
the time of the Arab conquests and the new rulers of 
ancient civilizations found abundant material on which 
to model their art. The craftsmen of the conquered 
countries did what they could to please their new masters, 
and when the latter were Sunnites in belief (see page 265), 
the native artists represented only such motives as were 
approved of by those in power. 

It is impossible to understand Arab art without having 
some knowledge of Arab history, and it is for this reason 
that so many pages of this lesson have been devoted to a 
historical outline. When we turn again to the art of 


the people we find that three main influences are 
apparent in it. They are those of Byzantium, the 
Sassanids of Persia, and the Eg)'ptian Copts. The art 
of China was also much valued by the Arabs, and an old 
historian wrote that nothing was more fashionable for 
wedding presents than " beautiful things from China." 
Arab art was produced by the Arabs themselves as well as 
by their foreign teachers and craftsmen, but their work 
when it was finished was only touched with their own 
personality, and reflected for the most part the inspiration 
of other nations. 

The historian Iln Khaldim wrote that "when a State 
is composed of Arabs it needs people of another country 
to build," and " people of another country " were also 
needed for the production of Arab arts and crafts. 
The ]\Ioslem troops incorporated men of many and 
varied nationalities, and also a number of skilled 
craftsmen from Persia, Syria and Egypt. In this way 
the arts of Asia and Africa were spread far and wide, 
modified to suit the needs of the Mohammedan faith, and 
stamped by the personality of the conquering Arab. The 
Arabs were no purists. While certain buildings they 
erected were simply Coptic, Syrian or Byzantine, others 
were composed of a medley of styles, blended together 
without any feeling for artistic unity. Many Arab 
buildings are full of a romantic charm and fascination, and 
contain what Professor Lethaby describes as " elasticity, 
intricacy, and glitter, a suggestion of fountain spray 
and singing birds " ; ^ but when we look at many of 
them more closely we become conscious of an inherent 
weakness, and the lack of a dominating intellectual 

Arab art reached its highest level at the Court of the 

' Architecture. Lethaby. Williams & Norgate. 


Fatimides. The work of this period is marked by rare 
delicacy and exquisite taste. Designs were bold and 
rhythmic, and technical execution reached an extremely 
high standard. With the fall of Baghdad, Arabic art based 
on the antique tradition came to an end. Later Arabic 
art continued to flourish under the rule of the Turkish 
Sultans, but a good deal of the earlier simplicity of design 
was lost, and the art on the whole declined. The Mo- 
hammedan art of the Persians, on the other hand, con- 
tinued to flourish, and during the fifteenth, sixteenth, 
and seventeenth centuries Persian illuminations, carpets, 
and pottery attained very great beauty. 

Ornament and Design — The belief has been 
generally held that Mohammed, in his hatred of idols, 
prohibited all representation of human and animal forms 
in art. In the Sun?ia, or written law of the Prophet, there 
is only one verse however into which this prohibition 
might be read. It runs as follows: "O believer, wine, 
games of chance, and idols are abominations, invented by 
Satan. Abstain from them and you will be happy." 
There was, however, a second book in which the 
Mohammedan found his creed. This was the HaditJi or 
commentary on the law of the Sunna, said to contain 
words spoken by the Prophet and recorded by his 
disciples. In the Hadith the prohibition as to idols has 
been enlarged, either consciously or unconsciously, into 
the following dictums : — " Woe to him who has painted a 
living creature ! At the day of the last judgment the 
persons represented by him will come out of the tomb 
and join themselves to him to demand of him a soul. 
Then that man, unable to give life to his work, will burn 
in eternal flames." And again, " God has sent against them 
three kinds of men to crush and confound them. These 
are the proud, the polytheists, and the idolaters. 


Refrain from representing either the Lord or man, and 
never paint anything but trees, flowers and inanimate 

There is no doubt that these verses greatly influenced 
Arab art and accounted for the fact that the Arabs had 
no schools of figure-sculpture and painting. But as far 
as the applied arts were concerned, the prohibitions were 
continually disregarded by certain sections of the Arab 
community. This has been amply proved by old Arab 
inventories of works of art that have been preserved, 
and also by the numberless existing specimens of Arab 
work containing conventionalized human and animal 
representations which are found in all parts of the 
ancient Arab kingdom. In the Alhambra, even portraits 
have been found, painted in fresco, and figure subjects, 
also in fresco, have been discovered in Arab buildings 
in the Near East. There is no doubt that the Persians 
and Copts were largely responsible for these designs 
containing animate forms, but such works of art when 
produced found a ready acceptance at both mosque and 
palace, except at the time when the Sunnite Arabs, who 
followed the law of the Hadit/i, were in power. The 
Arabs who belonged to the Shiite sect disregarded the 
prohibitions of the Hadith, and did not discourage the 
representation of animate forms in art. It is also a 
well-known fact that many of the caliphs were un- 
believers, taking little notice of any religious law. 

The first contact of Islam upon the older civilizations 
proved to be a stimulating one. There is an intense 
vitality about early Mohammedan decorative design, and 
ancient motives lived again under Arab patronage. The 
history of these designs is often most interesting. For 
example, the winged bull or lion of ancient Babylonia 
was passed on by Assyria to Persia, from Persia to 

ARAB ART , 267 

Byzantium, and through the help of the Arab is found 
again in Sicily and Spain, from where it was copied by 
Romanesque sculptors. 

The chief form of Sunnite Arab ornament was fanciful 
and intricate geometrical designs known as arabesques, 
which are found on every kind of Arab work, and which, 
when used architecturally, were carved in stone or 
moulded in plaster or stucco. Texts from the Koran in 
stone and plaster relief were also a characteristic of 
architectural ornament, and are frequently met with in 
the lesser arts also. The stalactite vaulting of Arab 
buildings is a special feature of Arab and Mohammedan 
architecture, and is found in the art of no other people. 
It was first introduced in the tomb of Zobeide, the 
favourite wife of Harun al-Raschid, which was built at the 
end of the eighth century at Baghdad. It was not until 
the later years of Arab rule that geometrical ornament 
began to run riot over all buildings, until the simplicity 
of surface, and feeling for dignity, were lost. The later 
mosques at Cairo and the decorations of the Alhambra 
are examples of this over-elaboration of detail. Another 
feature of Arab art is the lattice-work in wood and 
stone. The wooden lattice windows in particular were 
copied on every hand, and are still in use to-day in 
many parts of the East. 

Byzantine Influence — The nomadic Arabs pro- 
duced no works of art, but lived wandering lives in the 
desert. The Yemenite Arabs, on the other hand, were 
town dwellers, and developed a local school of art of their 
own. This school soon came under the influence of 
Byzantium, and we read that in the sixth century the 
Yemenite chief Abraha applied to the Emperor Justinian 
for aid in the building of a new church. So great was 
Abrahas interest in the building that it is recorded that 


he lived and slept within its walls during the whole time 
of its erection. The Dome of the Rock at Jerusalem is 
almost purely Byzantine work, and we are told by the 
Arab historian Samhoudy that when the Caliph El Walid 
wanted to build a great mosque at Medina he wrote to 
the Greek Emperor, who sent him mosaics and eighty 
workmen, forty of whom were Greeks and forty Copts. 
The Arabs also learnt the art of gilding, enamelling and 
wood carving from the Byzantines. 

Coptic Influence — The Copts, or native Christian 
population of Eg}-pt, were the true descendants of the 
ancient Egyptians. The headquarters of the Coptic 
School was at the Hellenistic city of Alexandria, and 
both Greek art and the art of Byzantium exercised a 
strong influence upon the Coptic craftsmen. However 
the ancient mystical strain which they had inherited from 
their famous ancestors soon awoke in them, with the 
result that the Coptic Church of Alexandria separated 
itself from the Church of B}'zantium to pursue a more 
mystical creed of its own, one which recognized the 
divine nature alone of Christ. After this time Coptic 
art became distinct and individual. Its figure subjects 
became more crude, but on the other hand the orna- 
mental motives it produced grew in originality and 
power. The chief form of Coptic ornament took the 
shape of conventionalized groupings of foliage, flowers 
and birds, and delicate interlacing designs of knot-work 
and scrolls, in part the result of Persian influence. The 
Copts also represented Biblical scenes, conventionalized 
human figures, hunting scenes, and other such subjects, 
until the time of the Arab rule, when, to please their 
conquerors, who were Sunnite Arabs, the Coptic crafts- 
men confined their artistic energies to the representation 
of inanimate forms. With the accession of the Fatimides, 


who were Arabs of the Shiite sect, the Copts regained 
their old freedom, and were once more able to continue 
their ancient traditions of work. 

The Copts also delighted in representations of fantastic 
and hybrid figures, half animal, half bird, often part 
human and part flower. Many of these figures had 
symbolic meaning. The dragon-fly symbolized the Holy 
Spirit ; an eagle trampling upon a gazelle or lion stood 
for majesty rising above impurity and darkness ; force 
was represented by two winged lions affronted ; animals 
and birds in pairs signified the eternal principle of life, 
while eagles and lions alone were often introduced as the 
symbols of the ancient gods of Yemen. The lotus, sun, 
and royal serpent were also ancient Egyptian emblems 
used by the Copts. 

Through the Arab employment of the Egyptian 
Christians, Coptic art was spread far and wide. In dis- 
tant countries we find their favourite form of architecture, 
which was modelled on the design of the ancient Assyrian 
buildings, showing their pointed arches and the horizontal 
exterior lines which aimed at an architectural profile, 
where terrace after terrace would rise against the sky. 
According to M. Gayet, the Copts also made three- 
quarters of the damascened bronzes and enamelled 
crystals of the time " in which are seen garlands of 
flowers and inscriptions, hunters, birds, jackals and 
gazelles." They also taught to the Arabs the arts of 
blowing and making glass, the weaving of wool, linen and 
silk, and the arts of embroidery and lace-making, which 
they had carried to a high level of excellence. 

Persian Influence — From the years 226-641 a.d. 
Persia and Mesopotamia were ruled by the Sassanids, a 
powerful and highly cultured Persian dynasty. Their art 
was founded on the ancient art of Persia, which had 


grown out of the art of Babylonia and Assyria, and was in- 
fluenced by Hellenic art.with which thePersians had become 
familiar at the time when Alexander the Great, and later 
the Macedonian dynasty of the Seleucids, had ruled the 
country. Relations between Persia and China were well 
established during the Sassanid rule, and the artistic ideals 
of each country also acted and re-acted upon the other. 

Arab art first came under the influence of Sassanid art 
in the second half of the sixth centur}', when Yemen was 
conquered by Chosroes I., one of the greatest of the 
Sassanian rulers. The ineradicable Persian strain in 
Egyptian and Spanish-Arab art can be traced to this 
time, when Persian and Yemenite Arabs dwelt side by 
side. Nearly a hundred years later the Arabs in their 
turn conquered Persia and brought the Sassanid dynasty 
to an end. They founded their new capital of Baghdad, 
only a few miles from the Sassanids' old winter capital 
of Ctesiphon, and erected their new buildings in very 
much the same style as that of the buildings of the late 
rulers of the country. The buildings of the Sassanids, with 
their barrel vaults, cupolas, and great doorways, were in 
this way perpetuated, in modified forms, and erected 
by the Arabs in different parts of their great empire. 
The Arabs also learnt the inlaying and chasing of metal 
from the Sassanian silversmiths of Mesopotamia, who had 
established a famous school for the industry at Mosul on 
the Tigris. These craftsmen had an instinctive feeling 
for mass and design, and their work had a great and 
beneficial influence upon the arts of Central Asia and 

The Mosques — " Whosoever builds for God a place of 
worship, be it only as the nest of a grouse, God buildeth 
for him a place in Paradise." These words of the 
Prophet were no doubt responsible for the great number 


of mosques or Mohammedan churches built by the Arabs, 
As no images were permitted in the mosques, the main 
thing that was required by the people was a large en- 
closure, where they could meet together for prayer and the 
hearing of the word. The court, which was generally an 
open one, contained fountains for ablution before prayer, 
a pulpit, and a mihrab or niche in one of the walls, 
indicating the direction of Mecca. Arcades usually 
surrounded the court, and were often enlarged on one 
side of the enclosure and converted into a covered space 
used as a prayer chamber. When the prayer chamber 
contained a tomb it was the custom to surmount it with 
a dome after the manner of the ancient Babylonian 
sepulchral monuments, and this practice was sometimes 
continued by the Copts and Greeks in Arab employ, even 
when the mosque had no mortuary connection. Another 
feature of the mosques were the tall and slender minarets 
or prayer towers. 

The earlier mosques, which were sometimes modelled 
on the design of desert caravanserais, are distinguished by 
the size of their courts, while those that were built in 
succeeding centuries are generally designed with a smaller 
court and have a number of elaborate surroundinsf 
buildings. Some of the most famous mosques are 
those of Mecca, Medina, Cordova, Kairwan (in Tunisia), 
Jerusalem, and Cairo. The artistic development of the 
buildings is well illustrated at Cairo, where the mosques 
of 'Amr, Tulun, and the Sultan Hassan show the growth 
of the Arab style. The first of these, which was built in 
the year 673 A.D., shows the simple, earlier Arab work, 
in spite of the fact that it has been much restored and 
enlarged, and that little if any of the original structure 
remains. The second, which is perhaps the most perfect 
Arab monument in Egypt, was copied from the great 


mosque at Samarra, near Baghdad, the residence of the 
Caliphate during the years 836-861 A.D. The Samarra 
mosque, in its turn, had been built on the model of the 
old Assyrian and Persian temples, and its curious tower, 
with its winding outside staircase, was a faithful repetition 
of the Persian fire tower, which was copied from the 
Assyrian ziggurat (see Plate XXII.). The third mosque, 
which was erected during the years 13 56- 13 59 A.D., is 
a building of much magnificence, but shows the excessive 
use of stucco decoration and the over-elaboration of 
ornament common to late Arab art. Its great dome fell 
in the year 1660. The famous tomb near Agra known 
as the Taj Mahal is an example of Arabic art modified by 
local influences. 

The Art of the Eastern Caliphate— There is little 
left of the art of the Eastern Caliphate either in Damascus 
or Baghdad. The great mosque of the former city, built 
by the Caliph Walid I. in 705 A.D., was burnt in 1893, 
and we have no witness of the glories of Baghdad under 
the Caliphate but the old descriptions that have come 
down to us. The famous round city of Baghdad was 
founded in 762 A.D. by Mansur, the Abbasid, one of the 
greatest of the caliphs. The town was finished in 766, 
and a hundred and thirty years later was described by 
the historian Ya'Kubi. The architects who built it were 
brought from Syria, Mesopotamia, Persia and Egypt, and 
one of the number was said to be an Indian. The plan 
of the city was laid out in cinders, and balls of cotton, 
saturated with naphtha, were placed at intervals along the 
line. When these were lighted a complete outline of the 
city was burnt in the grass, and upon this the great 
double walls were erected. Outside, a deep ditch for 
water was dug, and in the centre of the city a third wall 
was erected, which enclosed the area of the mosque and 





i V --^Xft^ldkitfeli* 



palace, while five great gateways gave entrance to the 
town. Unfortunately the entire town perished, and no 
building is left standing as a witness to its magnificence. 
We know that it was a great centre of learning, and that 
Harun al-Raschid discovered Algebra, and had Arabic 
translations made of Greek, Latin, Syrian, and Hebrew 
books ; but the glories of his Court, and the splendour 
of its art, can best be gathered from the enchanted 
pages of the Arabian Nights. 

Arab Art in Spain — The greater part of the 
so-called Moorish art in Spain was produced, not by 
Moors, but by Arabs. Even when the Moors were 
fighting for power in the peninsula during the single 
century i 146-1248 A.D., they were chiefly represented by 
the troops which supported their uneasy rule, and the 
Arabs and their foreign craftsmen still continued to 
produce the greater part of contemporary Moslem art. 
The horse-shoe arch, which was an architectural form 
used by the Visigoths in Spain before the advent of 
Islam, became so popular that even the Yemenite Arabs 
adapted their favourite Coptic pointed arch to this popular 
design, and in this way the architecture of the Yemenite 
Arabs in Andalusia can almost always be distinguished 
from that of the Syrian Arabs, who used the ordinary 
rounded horse-shoe design. It was the Yemenite Arabs 
who placed their artistic projects in the hands of the Copts, 
and according to Mr and Mrs Whishaw, it was the Copts, 
and their pupils the Yemenite Arabs and Gothic Christians, 
who were responsible not only for a large number of the 
buildings of the day, but also for the lesser arts and 
crafts which were produced in such quantities, and were 
used not only at the Caliphate at Cordova, but also for 
Eastern trade. The art of the earliest dwellers in Spain, 
and of the Romans and Goths, was also an influence in 


Spanish-Arabic art. These early traditions were pre- 
served in Seville by the Gothic nobles, and helped to give 
the town the artistic reputation which it held from the 
eighth century until the end of the eleventh, when the 
last Yemenite prince of Seville was dethroned. 

Cordova and the Mosque 

" O my beloved Cordova, when shall I see thee again ! 
Thou art like an enchanted spot, 
Thy fields are luxurious gardens. 

Thy earth of various colours resembles a flock of rose coloured 

" Do not talk of the court of Baghdad and its glittering magnifi- 
cence ; do not praise Persia and China and their manifold 
For there is no spot on the earth like Cordova. ..." 

In these and similar strains the old Arab poets sang 
the praises of Cordova, which v/as celebrated not only for 
its natural beauties, but also for its magnificent buildings 
and famous Court. Before the reign of Abderrahman III. 
Cordova was subject to the Caliph of Damascus, but with 
the accession of the great Omayyad, ruler in 891 A.D., its 
independence and its fame were firmly established, and 
the town took the title of the Caliphate of the West. It 
was then that Cordova reached the height of its splendour 
and prosperity. Old chronicles record that under the 
rule of the great Caliph the town was said to measure ten 
miles in diameter and to contain over 50,000 houses of 
the aristocratic and official classes, and more than 100,000 
dwellings of the common people, while there were hundreds 
of mosques and public baths. Numberless palaces, bright 
with marbles and inlay, and surrounded by lovely gardens, 
lined the banks of the Guadalquivir and lay on the out- 
skirts of the town. Among them were the Palace of 
Contentment, the Palace of the Flowers, the Palace of 


Novelties, the Palace of the Fortunate, the Palace of the 
Lovers, and the Palace of the Diadem. Another palace, 
known as the Diuiaslik (Damascus), was described in the 
following words by a contemporary Arab poet : — 

" All the palaces in the world are as nothing when compared to 
that of Dimashk, for not only has it gardens filled with the 
most delicious fruits and sweet smelling flowers, 
Beautiful prospects and limpid running waters ; clouds, pregnant 

with aromatic dew and lofty buildings ; 
But its earth is always perfumed, for morning pours on it her 
grey amber and night her black musk." 

Most famous of all the palaces, however, was the 
Palace of Az-Zahra, founded in 936 A.D. by Abderrahman 
III., for his favourite wife. It was built in the suburb of 
the same name, but soon after the fall of the dynasty was 
razed to the ground. 

The great mosque of Cordova was begun by 
Abderrahman I. in the year 784 A.D., and was built upon 
the site of a Christian church which he pulled down in 
order to make room for it. It was largely the work of 
Byzantine and Syrian craftsmen, and was copied from 
the mosque of Damascus, which would be well known to 
the young Omayyad Caliph. Abderrahman did not live 
to see his work finished, for he died in 788 A.D., and his 
son completed the mosque in his stead. By the year 
793 the structure was finished, but additions were made, 
and further enlargements and decorations added, by each 
succeeding Caliph until the fall of the dynasty. In later 
years a high altar and cruciform choir were built in the 
centre of the mosque by Charles V. ; a belfry took the 
place of the minaret ; and a number of chapels were built 
on to the sides of the great quadrangle. Otherwise, the 
Arabic characters of the building were left unimpaired. 

Granada and the Alhambra — The founder of the 


Nasride dynasty of Granada was the Yemenite Arab 
Mohammed ibn Yusuf ibn Al-Ahmar, known as Al-Ahmar, 
orMohammedI.(i 232-1272). He established an extensive 
kingdom in Andalusia, which included Granada, Almeria, 
Malaga and Jaen, but as the power of the Christian kings 
was growing fast in Spain, he wisely acknowledged as 
his suzerain the Castilian king Ferdinand, known as 
" The Saint." The two kings united to drive the last of 
the Moors out of Seville, after which Al-Ahmar devoted 
himself to the firm establishment of the Nasride dynasty 
at Granada. So well did he succeed, that for nearly two 
hundred and fifty years his descendants held sway at 
Granada, until Boabdil, the last of the race, abdicated to 
Ferdinand and Isabella, " the Catholic Kings," and so 
brought to an end the history of the Moslems in Spain. 

The brilliance of the kingdom of Granada was largely 
the result of Al-Ahmar's wisdom. He was a good and 
just man, who devoted his time to the cultivation of the 
land, the erection of schools and hospitals, the improve- 
ment of horse-breeding, and the encouragement of all arts 
and industries. Under his guidance the silk manufacture 
of Granada became famous throughout Europe and the 
East, the hill-sides blossomed like gardens in Spring, and 
the Court of the Alhambra grew to be a brilliant centre 
of culture, frequented by the greatest Arabian poets, 
scholars and historians of the day. The town of Granada 
was said to number half a million inhabitants during the 
Nasride rule, and the surroundings were described by a 
Moslem traveller in the year 1248 in the following words : — 

"Granada is the capital of Andalus, and the husband of its 
cities ; its environs are a delightful garden covering a space 
of forty miles, and have not their equal in the world. It 
is intersected by the well-known river Shenil and other 
considerable streams, and surrounded on every side by 
orchards, gardens, groves, palaces, and vineyards." 


The Palace of the Alhambra, commenced by Al-Ahmar 
in 1248 A.D., was built within the walls of an ancient 
pre-Roman fortress, and the new Sultan set himself the 
task of turning it into a dwelling worthy of himself and 
his Court. He mingled with the workmen, superintended 
their labour, and filled the gardens with the choicest 
flowers and plants. After his death the work was carried 
on by his successors. Yusuf I. (13 13- 13 54) finished the 
building, and Mohammed V. completed the decorations in 
1354. Although the Arab interior of the Alhambra 
shows a certain romantic charm and delicate grace, it can 
never take high rank architecturally. It shows too much 
of the over-elaboration of detail and ornament, and 
lacks the essential strength and dominating intellectual 
conception of great architecture. 



Description of one of the pavilions of the palace of the 
Caliph Harun al-Raschid. 

"The Prince of Persia thought himself to be in one of those 
delicious palaces that are promised us in the other world. He had 
never seen anything come near the magnificence of the place he was 
in. The carpets, cushions, and other appendages of the sofa ; the 
furniture, ornaments and architecture were surprisingly rich and 
beautiful. . . . The slave . . . opened the door and conducted them 
into a large saloon of wonderful structure. It was a dome of the 
most agreeable form, supported by a hundred pillars of marble, white 
as alabaster. The bases and chapiters of the pillars were adorned 
with four-footed beasts and birds of various sorts, gilded. The carpets 
of this noble saloon consisted of one piece of cloth of gold embroidered 
with bunches of roses in red and white silk ; and the dome, painted in 
the same manner, after the Arabian fashion, presented to the mind one 
of the most charming objects. In every space between the columns 


was a little sofa, adorned in the same manner, and great vessels of 
china, crystal, jasper, jet, porphyry, agate and other precious materials, 
garnished with gold and jewels. In these spaces were also many large 
windows, with seats projecting breast-high, fitted up as the sofas, and 
looking out on the most delicious garden, the walks of which were of 
little pebbles of different colours, of the same pattern as the carpet of 
the saloon ; so that looking upon the carpet within and without, it 
seemed as if the dome and the garden with all its ornaments had been 
upon the same carpet.'' 

From "The History of Aboulhassen Ali Ebn Becap and 
.Schemselnihar, Favourite of Caliph Haroun-al-Raschid.'' — 
The Arabian Nights. (According to the latest criticism 
The Arabian Nights was probably compiled during the 
ninth century, or at latest during the Fatimide period.) 


From the Epilogue of The Golden Journey to Samarkand. ^ 
At the Gate of the Sun, Bagdad, in the olden time. 

The Merchants {together). 

Away, for we are ready to a man I 

Our camels sniff the evening and are glad. 

Lead on, O master of the caravan : 

Lead on the merchant-Princes of Bagdad. 

The Chief Draper. 

Have we not Indian carpets dark as wine, 

Turbans and sashes, gowns and bows and veils, 

And broideries of intricate design. 

And printed hangings in enormous bales? 

We have rose-candy, we have spikenard. 
Mastic and terebinth, and oil and spice, 

And such sweet jams meticulously jarred, 
As God's own Prophet eats in Paradise. 

' The Golden /ourney to Samarkand. ]. E. Flecker. Max Goschen, Ltd. 


The Principal Jews. 

And we have manuscripts in peacock styles 

By Ali of Damascus ; we have swords 
Engraved with storks and apes and crocodiles, 

And heavy beaten necklaces, for Lords. 

The Chief Merchant. 
We gnaw the nail of hurry, Master, away ! 

One of the Wotnen. 

O turn your eyes to where your children stand. 
Is not Bagdad the beautiful? O stay ! 

The Merchants {in chorus). 
We take the Golden Road to Samarkand 

A Pilgrim with a Beautiful Voice. 

Sweet to ride forth at evening from the wells, 
When shadows pass gigantic on the sand. 

And softly through the silence beat the bells, 
Along the golden road to Samarkand. 

The Master of the Caravan. 
Open the gate, O watchman of the night I 

Ho travellers I open. For what land 
Leave you the dim-moon city of delight.? 

The Merchants {with a shout). 

We make the golden journey to Samarkand. 

\_The caravan passes through the gate.\ 


Part I, — Elementary Lessons in Story Form 



INTRODUCTION— What do you remember of Arab art ? What 
other kind of art was flourishing in Europe at the same time ? 
This is a story about Gothic art which grew up in Europe at the 
time when Byzantine and Arab art were dying away. 

I. The Devotion (A.D. 1144) — In a little roughly 
built cottage in France, a father and mother and two 
children are sitting round the table at dinner-time. They 
are simply and poorly dressed in coarse home-spun 
clothes, and there is nothing on the table but a big loaf 
of bread, some goat's milk, and a few apples. The room 
is very bare, for it contains nothing but a couple of beds 
covered with straw, two forms, a chest, and a table, all of 
which have been made by the peasant himself, but 
in spite of poverty, the little group has happy and 
contented faces, and as they eat their supper they talk 
together eagerly. " What can we do to help to build the 
Church of Our Lady at Chartres ? " asks the girl. " You 
can cut wood, father, and mother has spun fine linen, and so 
earned money to offer to the church, t)ut we children must 
help too. Every one in the village is helping, what can 
we do?" The mother smiles at them. "I have an 
idea," she says ; " down in the valley the corn is being cut. 



If you ask one of the servants of the rich lord who owns 
the fields, perhaps he will let you follow behind the 
reapers, and the corn that you can glean will help to 
make bread for the workers who are labouring on the 
great church for the glory of God and Our Lady." 

The children clap their hands at the idea, and jumping 
up from the table, run along the path, through the fields 
until they come to the house where the noble owner of 
the field lives. As. they stand hesitating at the gates the 
noble passes out. He sees the children and turns to 
them, asking what they want. The boy tells him shyly, 
and the face of the old man is full of kindness as he 
answers the little bare-footed children. " You may glean 
and welcome," he replies ; " and I would give you money 
for the good cause, but this day I have given all my lands 
and money to Our Lord and His Church. I am become 
pauvre et pcuple for His sake, and to-morrow I enter 
a monastery to serve Him there until I die. I am too old 
to fight for Him in the East : that chance I have lost, 
but perhaps I am not too old to serve." He gazes before 
him where the hills and valleys lie bathed in the warm 
autumn sunlight. His face is lit up as if with some 
inward vision, and the children, seeing that he has forgotten 
them, and is talking to himself rather than to them, slip 
away, and chase each other laughing down the hill-side to 
the fields where the men and women, with gleaming 
sickles, are cutting the corn and binding it into sheaves. 

When the reapers hear the children's errand, they are very 
willing to help them. " We also are going on pilgrimage 
to-morrow," some of them say ; " we too are going to help 
to draw the waggons and do what we can for the Church 
of God and Our Lady at Chartres." When the children 
have gleaned as much corn as they can stagger under 
they turn homewards, and, reaching their village, they 


pile the corn on one of the carts which is standing in the 
market-place in readiness for the next day. 

Early next morning the children are up with the dawn. 
The whole village is astir, and the people are collecting 
round the carts, which are loaded with offerings of every 
kind for the great church that is being built at Chartres. 
Some are heaped up with enormous blocks of stone, some 
with big tree trunks, some with corn, some with wine, 
some with big jars of olive oil. The children pass from 
one cart to another watching the arrival of fresh gifts. 
Their father turns to their mother : " We have not done 
enough," he says. He goes back to their cottage, and 
taking an axe cuts down some trees that grow by the 
door. " The Church needs much wood. May the Lord 
bless these strong trunks to His use." He fastens ropes 
to the trunks and the mother and children help to drag 
them along the road and pile them on one of the carts. 

The sun is high in the heavens and the autumn mists 
are rising from the valley. From the little grey church 
sounds of singing are heard ; the doors are thrown open, 
and the priest, followed by a number of the peasants, 
passes down the narrow street to the market-place. A 
hush falls upon the people, and they kneel down, and 
with bowed heads listen to the priest, who has climbed 
on one of the waggons. He urges them to start on the 
pilgrimage with free consciences and to forgive all wrongs 
and injuries, and ask for pardon of all their sins. No one 
may bring offerings to the Church who is not trying to 
lead a right life ; only those with devotion and love for 
God may come on this holy errand. It is very still in 
the market-place. The swallows alone twitter and chatter 
while from the meadows beyond the fields of golden corn 
the cows are heard lowing by the river, waiting for milk- 
ing time. The priest raises his hand and blesses the 

PLA TE xxirr 



people, who rise and in absolute silence harness themselves 
to the waggons. Slowly the big wheels begin to move, 
and one by one the waggons are drawn out of the village 
and along the rough road that leads to Chartres. 

The children and the parents are prepared for the 
labour and fatigue, but it is even greater than they had 
imagined. The ropes seem to cut into their shoulders, 
and their backs ache almost unbearably, but no one 
complains, and the procession moves along in silence until 
a halt is made. The priest again mounts his waggon, 
and the people join in a hymn of praise and thanks- 
giving. The sound of singing floats away over the 
autumn woods and fields, and the labourers lay down their 
sickles and spades, and come to where the waggons are 
standing, and themselves make vows that they too will 
help the church at Chartres. A party of nobles and 
ladies on horseback pass. They dismount, and kneel- 
ing before the priest ask for his blessing. A lady takes 
a gold and jewelled chain from off her neck and places 
it reverently on one of the carts. As the people press 
forward again, drawing their heavy loads, they see in the 
distance other waggons, and as they draw nearer the town 
they are joined by many pilgrims, all bent on the same 
errand. They are dusty, foot-sore and weary, but on all their 
faces is the same expression of radiant happiness and trust. 

Dusk is beginning to fall, and now in the distance the 
walls of the town are visible. A cry of joy rises from 
the people as they see standing high above them the great 
walls of the new church. They break into fresh songs 
of thanksgiving, and filled with enthusiasm and forgetting 
their weariness, they press on with their heavy loads until 
they reach the gates of the town. Passing through the 
narrow streets they see before them an open space, and 
looming dimly above it the two newly built towers of the 


church of the Virgin. The people find a place for their 
wagons among the others which are waiting there, and 
which form together a great circle round the shadowy 
church, a spiritual camp with tired but happy pilgrims 
resting in its shade. Big wax candles are fastened to 
the wagons, and the boy goes round with a light, until 
a little uncertain flame flickers from each into the darkness. 
Some of the people stretch themselves on the ground and 
are soon lost in sleep ; others spend the night in prayer 
and praise. Overhead the friendly stars keep watch ; the 
little bats give their shrill cries as they flutter past, while 
in the grass the glow-worms light their tiny lamps among 
the dew and leaves. 

2. The Crusades — Nearly a year passes. The walls 
of the great church are now strong and high, and hundreds 
of workers are busy on the fabric, among them the boy 
who gleaned the corn. He is learning to be a mason 
and lives in the shadow of the building. One morning 
when he is helping to put some blocks of stone in their 
place, a man comes running up the hill. " Bernard of 
Clairvaux is coming," he cries out as soon as he is in 
ear shot ; " even now he will be in the market place : he is 
preaching the holy war. Come and hear him." Masons 
and sculptors, glaziers and carpenters, throw down their 
tools and hurry to the market-place, where a great crowd 
is already assembled. Bernard, in his monk's gown, is 
preaching to the people. His face is white and haggard, 
but it lights up with fire and passionate faith, as he urges 
his audience to give themselves to the service of Christ. 
He tells them how Jerusalem, the city of Our Lord, is in 
the hands of infidels and unbelievers, and he begs all who 
are able to come on a fresh crusade, and fight and win 
the city back again for the Christian faith. 

His words ring out into the summer air, and a low 


murmur growing into a roar, rises from the people. " It 
is the will of God ! Crosses ! Crosses ! " The preacher un- 
looses a great sheaf of them, cut out of red stuff or linen, 
and in a frenzy of enthusiasm the people seize them as 
they flutter down, and fasten the symbols of Christ upon 
their breasts. The crowd breaks out into singing, and the 
voices of the people echo back again from the grey walls 
and towers of the Cathedral. 

With banners flying and led by the clergy in their 
gorgeous robes, Bernard is brought to the great church, 
and there in its half-finished aisles he is elected general 
of the army of Christ. " Oh ! that I could go with him," 
thinks the boy; " if only I were older and could fight for Our 
Lord in the East." Then he hears that Bernard is telling 
the people that he cannot accept the honour that has 
been offered to him, and that as he has never learnt the 
science of war, he must spend his time instead in rousing 
the people's enthusiasm and urging them to go on the 
holy errand. 

An old mason, who is standing by the boy, and has 
read his eager thoughts, touches him on the arm. " Even 
so for you and me," he whispers to him ; " you are too 
young for the crusade : I am too old ; but we can serve, 
for we can give our lives to the building of this church. 
Our youth and our age, our hopes and our joys, our 
sorrows and ecstasy we can build into these stones and 
offer to Christ and His Mother. From this fire and 
labour will spring our salvation, and that of all by whose 
efforts the church is built." The boy is comforted, and 
feels that in this way he too is in the army of Christ, even 
though he will be left behind when so many of the men 
of Chartres march out on the holy war. 

The townspeople make their preparations, and by the 
following year the great army that Bernard of Clairvaux 


has raised is ready. As the church grows daily in 
beauty, the crusaders come to its shelter and dedicate 
themselves to Christ's service in the East. The nierht 
before the army starts the boy returns late to the building 
in search of a tool that he has left behind him. Before 
an altar where two candles burn, a knight keeps vigil. 
He is dressed in chain armour ; on the breast of the 
white tunic that covers it blazes a red cross, and on the 
ground before him lie the sword and shield that he is to 
use on the crusade. He kneels in silence and with 
bowed head. As the boy passes him, stepping softly, he 
thinks of the words of the old mason : " We are helping 
too, we are helping too," he whispers to himself as he 
creeps out into the moonlight again. 

• ••••• 

3. A Hundred Years Later — Years passed and the 
men who worked on the church passed away. They 
grew old in its service, and left behind them works of 
unfading beauty ; figures in stone of kings, queens, and 
saints, some with serious and intent faces, others with 
smiling eyes and gentle gaiety in their glances. The 
sculptors never signed their names on the stones, for they 
made statues for the glory of God and Our Lady, and 
not for perpetuating their own fame. 

Then came a great fire and all the church was burnt 
down except the towers and the west front with its great 
windows, and the portals, with their wealth of sculpture. 
What happened ? The people undismayed, began to 
build again. The bishop and his Chapter gave up their 
stipends for three years, in order that the money could 
be expended on the fabric. Men and women from all 
parts of the Christain world came to Chartres on pilgrim- 
age, bringing money and gifts to the church. They 
crowded into the newly rising aisles until they were full 


to overflowing, and new-comers had to kneel on the steps 
outside, under the dreaming figures of saints and queens. 
Every year the church grew more beautiful. Carvings, 
stained glass, paintings, and embroideries gave it colour 
and added loveliness. As it grew it seemed full of a 
holy peace and joyfulness. All the devotion that had 
spent itself upon its upraising lived again in the lights 
and shadows of its aisles and vaulting, and in the wealth 
of the carvings and traceries. Men and women brought 
to it their joys and sorrows, and its beauty and serenity 
entered into their lives, and dwelt there. 

Then one day when the building was all but finished, 
two kings came to see it. One was the King of France, 
Louis IX., called Saint Louis because of his goodness ; 
the other was Henry HI., King of England, who was 
travelling back to his own country, and had asked 
the French King if he might visit some of his chief 
towns, to see their most famous buildings. He loved 
beautiful pictures and buildings and carvings, and as he 
stood in the cathedral at Chartres, and looked around 
him, he thought of his own land, and determined that he 
would make his abbey at Westminster as wonderful as 
this great church and as all the others he had seen in the 
fair land of France. How he did it, the next story will tell. 


Introduction — Last Lesson. — Henry III. of England determined 
that he would pull down the old church at Westminster, and 
in its place build a splendid new one, modelled on the plan of the 
great French cathedrals which he had seen and had so much admired. 
This is a story about the building and opening of the new church our 
present Westminster Abbey. 

I. The Novice and the Apprentice — Two brothers 
are living in a deep gabled house in the City of London. 


As they are fourteen and fifteen years years of age it is 
time to decide what must be done with them, and this is 
what has been arranged by their parents, after long and 
anxious discussion. The elder, who is the quieter and 
more studious of the two, shall be taken to the monastery 
at Westminster, to be trained as a monk, and the younger, 
who is never happy unless he is carving bits of stone into 
every manner of shape, shall be apprenticed to a mason, 
to learn how to build and carve. 

The day comes when the boys must start on their new 
professions. Early one morning the mother ties her elder 
son's clothes up in a bundle, and leaving the town behind 
them, the boy and his parents walk through the flowering 
meadows until they see before them the group of grey 
stone buildings that constitutes Westminster. On one 
hand is the palace of the King, and round it cluster 
numberless small houses and buildings of every sort. The 
whole place hums with life. The boy watches with keen 
interest as people come and go through the great gates. 
There are troops of archers, their huge bows in their 
hands ; knights in armour on splendid horses, with pages 
running at their sides ; two men in green jerkins, one 
with a pole slung over his shoulder on which a row of 
hooded falcons perch, the other leading some big wolf 
hounds in a leash ; and peasants and fishermen, carrying 
packed up hampers to the royal kitchens. Beyond the 
palace stands the monastery of St Peter, amongst orchards 
all pink and white with blossom, and gardens full of the 
gayest of flowers, while by its side towers the splendid 
Abbey church that the King is building, its beautiful grey 
walls half hidden by scaffolding. The boy has often 
.seen it and has heard all about it many times, for is 
not every one in the city talking of the King's pleasure 
in it, how he thinks of nothing else, and how he even 


forces money from the people in order to pay for its 
building ? 

There is not time to linger, and nervous and excited, 
the boy is taken through the big doors into the monastery 
where he is to pass his life. There are monks everywhere 
with their long black habits and shaven heads, but to his 
relief there are also boys like himself, who look with 
curiosity at their future companion as he is ushered into 
the big hall where the abbot, the head of the monastery, is 
sitting writing. The boy and his parents bow low before 
the great personage, who is portly and full of dignity, and 
has a shrewd and kindly face. Then the boy is taken 
through the courtyard of the abbot's house, and along the 
cloisters to a door leading into the great new church. The 
nave is barricaded off with a big wooden partition at the 
choir. Transepts and side chapels are finished and are 
already bright with decorations. From beyond the par- 
tition comes the sound of distant hammering. The boy 
kneels down before the altar in the chapel to which he 
has been led. Everything seems dream-like and unreal. 
A priest comes forward and cuts off his long curls and 
lays them on the altar as an offering. Then he is pre- 
sented to a second priest and vessels containing sacred 
symbols are put into his hands. Next he sees his parents 
advance and feels them wrap his hands in the pall of the 
altar, and he hears their words as they read a written 
promise, that they will never induce him to leave the 
monastery. Then the abbot himself blesses a hood and 
lays it on his head, after which he is taken back to the 
monastery, robed and shaved after the fashion of the order, 
and brought back again to the chapel, where he is received 
as a novice with many prayers. The service over, he says 
good-bye to his mother and father, and his life in the 
monastery is begun. 



The next da\' the second brother is started in life as 
an apprentice to a master mason, or builder, and this 
is attended with a solemn ceremony. He is taken by his 
parents to the hall of the masons' guild in the city. There 
the heads of the guild, or company, are sitting, dressed in 
their special dress or livery. They are all clever builders, 
having served seven years as apprentices, and then worked 
as journeymen, and they are now honoured and respected, 
and rule the affairs of all the other builders in London. 
There are many other boys brought by their fathers and 
mothers, and, when their names have been read out, they 
stand in a row before the warden, or head of the guild, 
and are told about all the things that, as apprentices, they 
must, and must not, do. They must keep their hair short 
and dress tidily, be obedient and good workers, speak the 
truth, and be a credit to the guild. The boys stand very 
still, and are very well behaved while the warden is speak- 
ing to them, and they all determine to be good workmen, 
but they look at each other out of the corners of their 
eyes, and know that they will have plenty of fun and 
games together, as well as hard work, before their seven 
years' apprenticeship is over. 

When the ceremony is finished the boy's parents put 
some money in a box for the funds of the guild, and sign 
their son's indenture, and our newly-made apprentice gives 
them a last hug, and, feeling very shy and a little home- 
sick, is taken off by a bearded and kindly-faced master 
mason, with whom he is to live. They thread their way 
through the narrow twisting city streets, where the over- 
hanging houses nearly touch each other, until the mason's 
house is reached. Here the boy is welcomed by the 
mason's wife, who introduces him to her sons and daughters, 
who are to become almost like brothers and sisters to him. 
He is shown the room which he is to share with the 


menkind of the family, and the big shed at the back of 
the house, where he is to be taught his new trade. After 
supper he is very glad to go off to bed, and falls asleep 
wondering how his brother is getting on at Westminster. 

2. The Building of Westminster Abbey — Although 
they live such different lives, the two brothers are able to 
see a certain amount of each other, for many members 
of the masons' guild, and also a large number of the 
monks, are at work upon the Abbey church. Some of 
the most famous of the master masons are in the service 
of the King, and live in the palace enclosure with their 
assistants. The master of our apprentice is not of their 
number but he is a clever workman and is often 
employed upon the Abbey, and, when this is the case, 
brings the boy with him to hand him tools, mix mortar, 
and make himself generally useful. It sometimes happens 
that his brother the novice is allowed to wander about 
the church in his daily hour of free time, and it is then 
that the two boys may get an opportunity of seeing 
each other. 

The first time the brothers meet there is much to talk 
about. The younger brother laughs at the shaven head 
and long black habit of the elder, who, in his turn, points 
at the thick leathern apron of the apprentice. " It's great 
fun being a mason," says the latter ; " I am learning how 
to draw plans of buildings, and how to cut stone, and 
soon I am to be allowed to begin to carve figures. When I 
have served my time and grown famous perhaps I shall 
be a master mason and work for the King." " I draw and 
paint too," replies the elder brother, " but my drawings 
are made for books. There is an old monk in our 
monastery, who sits all day long in the cloister, working 
at a missal. I pick him flowers to copy, and apples and 
pears from the orchard, and once I caught a butterfly for 


him in the abbot's garden. He copies them all and 
makes his drawings into borders for the pages, and then 
I grind his colours and he paints them, oh ! so beautifully. 
He is teaching me, and one day I too will make a missal. 
I am going to learn to make stained-glass windows and 
perhaps to carve too, for many of our monks can do these 
things ; they are helping to build this church just as much 
as the townsfolk in the guilds." 

The boys wander up and down the aisles, full of 
interest in all that they see, and indeed what could be 
more delightful than to watch the men in the choir, who 
are putting finishing touches to the stalls, or those who 
are fitting a stained glass window into place ? The 
sculptors are laughing together over some figures they 
have just completed, a mermaid and a dolphin and some 
wicl<ed little grinning faces. The boys lean over their 
shoulders and ask what the figures mean. " Never you 
mind," replies one of the men with a chuckle. " Wait until 
you are older, and then }'ou can carve whatever you want. 
If you would like to know, one is a scene out of an old 
story my mother used to tell me, and one is a fish I sav/ 
in the river or thought I did, and whose the faces are 
it does not matter." The men fasten the carved pieces 
of wood to the undersides of the seats where the monks 
sit when they chant the Miserere, and the novice knows 
the reason well. When the seats are turned back, and 
the members of the choir have to stand intoning until 
they nearly drop with fatigue, the projecting carvings give 
them some support in their weariness. 

The boys are next attracted by a member of the 
painters' guild, who is working on the wall of a side 
chapel. He is painting the slender figure of a saint, with 
flowing robes, and eyes full of tenderness and peace. His 
face is absorbed, and he hardly seems aware of the boys, 


who watch him silently, as if the spirit of the saint were 
holding them. They pass on to the new shrine of Saint 
Edward, and hold their breath before its sumptuous rich- 
ness. The King has given money for two great wax 
candles to be kept there alwa}'s, and in their light, the 
shrine seems to glitter with gems. A foreign craftsman 
is at work upon it, and near him a second Italian is 
putting finishing touches to the mosaic pavement that 
Abbot Ware has had transported from Rome. The boys 
laugh and nudge each other at the sound of the foreign 
language and then turn their attention to the men from 
the glaziers' guild, who are fixing a window into place. 
The bits of richly tinted glass are joined together with 
thin lines of lead, and the boys make out the figures of 
prophets and angels immersed in colour and sunlight. 
Next a monk, mounted on a ladder, calls to the novice, 
asking for a tool he has forgotten, and while waiting for 
his brother who has run off on his errand, the apprentice 
watches the sculptor's clever fingers fashioning some ivy 
leaves in stone, after the likeness of a freshly cut green 
spray that he has nailed up beside him. On every hand 
there are workers, keen, gay, and interested, chatting as 
they work, comparing notes, and joking with one another. 
Suddenly a door opens, and a silence falls, as the King 
is seen to enter by his private door that leads from the 
palace. He is deep in talk with the master mason, who 
follows him carrying a large roll of parchment under his 
arm. The King passes from one group of workers to 
another. All bow low as he approaches, and their faces 
light up with pleasure if their work attracts his attention 
and pleases him. He passes the shrine of St Edward, 
and kneels for a moment in prayer. Then, crossing him- 
self, he turns and gazes down the long aisles and with a 
face full of content retraces his steps and returns to the 


palace. The two brothers, whose hour of freedom is over, 
hurriedly slip back to their work, one to the mixing of 
his mortar, the other to the monastery, where the old 
monk awaits the grinding of his colours. 

3. The Opening of the Abbey, 13 October, 
1269 — At last the day draws near when the first High 
Mass is to be celebrated in the newly finished Abbey. 
The King has decreed that the opening shall take place 
on St Edward the Confessor's day, which is an annual 
holiday. Every year a service is held in the saint's 
honour, in the church in which he is buried, and this year 
it is to be more solemn and beautiful than it has ever 
been before, for the golden coffin containing the saint's 
bones is to be publicly transferred to its new resting place. 
All London is on tiptoe with excitement, and pilgrims 
and visitors from every part of England crowd into the 
town, to hear the solemn service and to see the great new 
church, the fame of which has spread far and wide. 

The night before the opening, the novice is wakened 
in the chill hour before dawn to take part in the matins 
in the Abbey. He creeps down the stairs with the 
monks, shivering in the cold air, and wraps his habit 
closer round him, as he enters the dim church. The 
building is lost in black shadow, except where the 
sanctuary lamps and the flickering tapers of the monks 
cast a pale and ghostly light upon carving and pillar, 
tracery and column. Only in one other spot is there a 
glimmer of light. Two great wax candles are burning 
in front of the shrine of St Edward and kneeling before 
it, with bowed head, the novice sees the King. He is 
clad in a long white robe, and his hands are clasped and 
his lips move in prayer. By his side kneel several nobles 
of the court, dressed in full armour, their swords at their 
sides, sharing the vigil of their master. The low intoning 





of the monks echoes through the vaults but the King is 
as motionless as the ivory statue of the virgin, which 
gleams palely in the dimness near him. As he creeps 
back into bed again the novice can hardly believe that 
in a few hours the King's vigil will be over, and the 
scene of midnight devotion will be changed to a blaze of 
splendour and glor)-. 

With the sunrise the boy is awake again. The 
monastery is humming like a hive. The voice of Abbot 
Ware is heard issuing orders, and the novice is sent to 
empty the great chests of their store of wonderful copes 
and vestments embroidered with saints and angels, 
dragons and leaves, and coloured like flower-beds in 
spring. Next he is sent running to the store-rooms for 
candles for the procession, and then there are the beautiful 
illuminated books of the mass, which must be taken into 
the choir and put in place for the abbot and bishops. 
When this is done, he is sent with others to strew the 
choir of the Abbey with rushes, mint, and sweet-smelling 

At last the preparations are done, and the priests, 
monks, and novices form into a long procession, and pass 
over to the palace. On every side vast crowds are 
collected. Inside the church the people have waited 
patiently since early morning, and are now counting the 
minutes until the procession will arrive. Outside the 
great Abbey bells peal and clash to the blue sky overhead. 
A soft autumn breeze stirs the trees in the orchard and 
sends the leaves rustling down into the long damp grass, 
while from over the wall of the abbot's garden comes the 
scent of the stocks. The gates of the palace are thrown 
open at last, and a long procession issues forth. 
Surrounded by the bishops and clergy in their magnificent 
robes, the King, assisted b}- his brother and two eldest 


sons, bears on his shoulder the new golden coffin 
containing the bones of St Edward. The monks follow 
in their long black habits, and the novice in his white 
surplice swings a censer, and joins in the solemn chant 
that the monks are singing. Behind the religious bodies 
come the Knights Templar in chain armour, with sunburnt 
faces, and crosses on their breasts, and after them walk 
the Black Friars, the Knights of St John, the Mayor and 
Corporation, and the representatives of all the city guilds 
and companies, resplendent in hoods and surcoats, 
embroidered with the arms of their crafts. 

As the precious relic passes, the people fall on their 
knees and cross themselves. The great doors of the 
Abbey are thrown open, and slowly, and with steady 
steps, the King and his sons, followed by the clergy, bear 
the golden coffin round the aisles so that all may see it. 
They then pass through the heavy curtains into the choir, 
where the Queen and court are assembled. With 
chanting and intoning the new shrine is reached, and 
the coffin reverently placed in it. Mass is celebrated by 
Abbot Ware, and then with a blast of music the curtains 
are drawn aside, and the great Abbey is revealed to the 
people in all its nobility and completeness. High in the 
vaulting float the boys' voices, " Gloria, gloria in excelsis 
Deo." The mellow autumn sunshine fills the great aisles 
with a soft light. The windows glow and burn, some 
sapphire and flame and cinnamon ; some cool as sea 
water and faint as mother-of-pearl. High in the shadowy 
vaulting the sound of the music lingers and spreads. 
The fragrance of the mint and the rushes mingles with the 
scent of the incense. On every side candles are flickering, 
and figures of grave-eyed saints and kings, and of mocking, 
grinning grotesques, gaze down upon the crowded aisles. 
The gilded shrine of the confessor blazes with jewels, and 


fresh treasures are added to its store as nobles and 
knights, following the example of the King, one by one 
lay their offerings before it. Richly wrought tapestries 
hang round the choir, deep as forest greenery, and from 
the walls the legends of the saints arc blazoned forth. 

The people gaze spellbound upon the beauty around 
them. The novice from his stall searches among the 
faces of the crowd for that of his brother, for he knows 
the apprentice will be there. Among all that great 
crowd there are none happier than the workers who have 
helped in the building and decorating of the fabric, and 
mason and sculptor, painter, glazier and goldsmith, feel 
their hearts swell with joyfulness and pride. 

The service over, the rest of the day is spent in 
rejoicing and merriment, and the hour is late before the 
novice and apprentice are in bed and asleep, dreaming of 
lofty aisles, full of glowing colour and triumphant music, 
and a great king bowing low before a jewelled and 
gleaming shrine. 



First Story — To show how Gothic art was to a large extent the 
result of waves of religious emotion and enthusiasm. The story is 
imaginary. The details are chiefly taken from contemporary records 
translated and published in A Medieval Garner by Coulton, 
and Chartres by Cecil Headlam (Medieval Towns Series). The 
description of St Bernard's preaching of the Crusade is taken from a 
contemporary account of the same scene at Vezelay, which he visited 
shortly before Chartres. The burning of the church took place in the 
year 11Q4 a.d. Teachers who have not taken the story of the 
destruction of Sancta Sophia (Lesson IX.) could give a description of 
this fire, and if the second lesson on Gothic art should be omitted, 
a more detailed account of the interior of the church should be given. 
For particulars of building, etc., see Chartres, by Cecil Headlam. 

Second Story — To show how the Church and Guild were largely 
responsible in shaping Gothic art. The story is imaginary. The 
details are largely taken from the books on Westminster by Dean 


Stanley, Ridgeway, Professor Lethaby, and Sir Walter Besant, which 
contain translations from many of the old Fabric Rolls, and from 
contemporary chronicles, such as that by Matthew Paris, and the 
Customary of Abbot Ware. The ceremony of receiving the novice, 
as described in paragraph i, dates from the end of the fourteenth 
century, though it may have taken the same form in the thirteenth 
also. There is no mention as to which chapel it took place in. 
Although there is no proof, it is probable that the masons' guild 
existed by the middle of the fourteenth century. There is no record 
that a wooden barricade divided off the unfinished part of the church, 
but something of the sort must have been provided, as the chapels 
were in use before the nave was completed. For exact dates of work 
in the Abbey, see Professor Lethaby's Westminster Abbey and the 
King's Craftsmen. 

Part II. — Material for Advanced Lessons only 

History and General Characteristics — The passing 
of the ancient world and the dawn of the Middle Ages 
can be marked by no definite date. The Roman Empire 
fell before the barbaric invasions from the north, and the 
invaders, German people, speaking an Aryan tongue, 
broke up the country into various kingdoms of their own. 
The Franks and Burgundians settled in Gaul ; the 
Jutes, Angles, and Saxons in Great Britain ; the Vandals 
in North Africa ; the Visigoths in Spain ; and the 
Ostrogoths and later the Lombards in Italy and the 
Ostrogoths in South Russia. The imperial rule was 
entirely destroyed in Europe, and after the year 470 A.D. 
there were no more emperors in Rome. The new 
kingdoms suffered many vicissitudes. Some were destroyed 
and some absorbed ; but in each country a new nation 
was formed, with its individual system of government 
and an original and independent art and literature of its 
own. The new nations soon forsook their northern gods, 
and from Woden, Freya, Balder, and the visions of 


\\'alhalla, turned instead to the teachings of Christianity. 
Centuries of wars and unrest followed, until at last 
Europe slowly settled down into a state of greater law 
and order. A gradual blending of old and new took 
place. Barbaric elements such as the Teutonic, Lombard, 
Celtic, and Anglo-Saxon came into contact with classic 
and oriental thought. Out of the confusion Gothic art 
emerged, created by the fierce energies of northern 
peoples, steadied by classical tradition and precedent, and 
embodying in every stone and beam and flaming window 
of its churches the triumph of Christianit}'. 

The years 1150 to 1550 can be given to indicate 
broadly the period of Gothic art. It was the outcome of 
a new growth of emotion and action following the long 
period of comparative mental stagnation. Man\- of the 
superstitious minds of the day expected the end of the 
world to take place during the year 1000, and once the 
dreaded time was past, life began to blossom afresh. 
Great waves of religious enthusiasm swept over the land, 
resulting in the crusades and the reform of the numerous 
religious orders, while the latter, growing steadily in 
power and numbers, necessitated the erection of endless 
ecclesiastical buildings. As the foundations of liberty 
were laid in Europe, and the stirring and quickening of 
national life showed itself in ideals of romance and 
chivalry, and in the founding of Universities, and the 
establishment of merchant and craft guilds, Romanesque 
art, which had grown up during the latter half of 
the Middle i\ges, developed almost imperceptibly into 
Romance or Gothic art. It reached its height about the 
}'ear 1250, and after 1350 became gradually more 
flamboyant, until in the sixteenth century it slowly gave 
way before the incoming tide of the Renaissance. The 
Isle de France, or district round Paris, saw its birth, and 


it was there that it attained its highest expression, at 
a time when Paris was the centre of European learning. 

From France, Gothic art quickly spread to England, 
where it developed on lines of almost equal beauty, and 
soon Germany, Flanders, and northern Spain and Portugal 
had welcomed it as their own. In Italy, however, it 
never became entirely indigenous and the style was often 
modified to suit the requirements of wall-paintings. It 
was a secular, no less than an ecclesiastical art. San 
Gimignano in Italy, Carcassonne in France, or Rothenburg 
in Germany are good examples of a medieval town, 
with their dominant features of wall and tower, and their 
narrow streets, flanked by gaunt-looking houses. Above 
all, Gothic art was the work of great medieval organisa- 
tions, and the unity to which it attained was due to the 
co-operation of great communities of workmen, without 
which it would never have reached its splendid triumph. 

Many old chronicles bear witness to the mystic rever- 
ence of medieval people for their works of art. Professor 
Lethaby gives two instances of this mysticism. This is 
how Dante describes images of the Virgin and Angel : 
" There, sculptured in a gracious attitude, he did not seem 
an image that is silent ; one would have sworn that he 
was saying ' Ave,' and in her mien this language was 
expressed ' Ecce ancilla Dei ' as distinctly as any figure 
stamps itself in wax." Hermann of Tournay, writing still 
earlier, says of the shrine of St Piat, that on it was repre- 
sented the five wise and the five foolish virgins, " all who 
seemed to weep and be alive ; some wept tears like 
water, some like blood." ^ There is also the well-known 
account of the burning of the choir of Canterbury 
Cathedral in the thirteenth century. "The people were 
astonished that the Almighty should suffer such things, 

^ Medieval Arl, Duckworth. 


and maddened with excess of grief and perplexity, they 
tore their hair and beat the walls and pavements of the 
church with their heads and hands, blaspheming the 
Lord and His Saints, the patrons of the Church ; and 
many both of the city and of the monks would rather 
have laid down their lives than that the church should 
have so miserably perished." 

The Medieval Church — During the period of 
Romanesque and early Gothic art the monasteries were 
the great centres of artistic teaching. The most famous 
of these early monastic schools of art in Europe were 
those established by Eginhard for Charlemagne about the 
year 800 A.D., and by De Siderius, Abbot of Mende, 
towards the end of the eleventh centur}-, while it is 
recorded that by the end of the twelfth century there 
were no less than eight hundred monk artists at Semur 

In this way the Catholic Church was the most power- 
ful artistic influence of the Middle Ages. Although 
some of its greatest leaders, such as St Francis and St 
Bernard, preached the gospel of simplicity, and denounced 
all forms of rich and elaborate art, the whole trend of 
its teaching led in the opposite direction. There were 
few books and few people who could read. As early as 
the year 600 A.D. St Gregory had written that " what 
writing is for those who can read, painting is for 
the uneducated who can only look," and the wise old 
abbots and bishops were quick to realize that the 
doctrines of the Church could be taught through eye and 
ear, as well as by the spoken word {^Extract A). 

Religion was to be a joyous thing for the people, and 
in their churches they were to find beauty, colour, and 
mystery. How did the Apostle of old describe the heaven 
that had been revealed to him ? " Her light was like 


unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear 
as crystal — the first foundation was jasper ; the second 
sapphire ; the third a chalcedony ; the fourth an emerald 
— and the twelve gates were twelve pearls, every several 
gate was one pearl ; and the street of the city was pure 
gold, as it were transparent glass." Even so was the 
beauty of the Church to express the hidden beauty of the 
faith in which it had its being. Nothing could be too 
beautiful to serve the faith, and neither money nor 
labour were spared in the enrichment of its shrines 
with forms of loveliness (^Extract B). The craftsmen who 
laboured to this end had no thought of personal glory. 
Matthew Paris, a chronicler of the fourteenth century, wrote 
that a great work or building was always spoken of as 
the work of the abbot " for the glory of the office." It is 
true that there was another side to the picture, and that 
the dual nature of the Middle Ages was apparent in the 
Church services. Side by side with the beauty and the 
undoubted religious and emotional atmosphere went 
unbelievably irreverent scenes, but we are not concerned 
here with that side of the question. 

A medieval church was to be a sermon in stone, a 
silent preaching of the word. During the early part of the 
Middle Ages, when Christianity and paganism flourished 
side by side, many pagan elements were unconsciously 
absorbed into Church doctrines. An element of magic 
and mystery was taken over from the East and with it 
a confusion of the symbol with the fact symbolized. 
This love of symbolism and allegory had, however, a very 
interesting side, and exercised a great influence upon art, 
which became absorbed in representing the inner 
meaning of things. This was what William Durandus, 
Bishop of Mende, wrote in the year 1220; "Pictures 
and ornaments in churches are the true teachings and 





scriptures of the laity. . . . The glass windows in a church 
are holy scriptures which expel the wind and the rain, 
that is all things hurtful, but transmit the light of the true 
sun, that is God, into the hearts of the faithful ; the silken 
coverings of the altar are the ornaments of divers virtues 
wherewith the soul is adorned ; the light of the candlesticks 
is the faith of the people ; the lamp burning saith ' I am 
the light of world ' ; the cock at the summit of the church 
is a type of preacher, for the cock ever watchful, 
even in the depth of the night, giveth notice how the 
hours pass, wakeneth the sleepers, predicteth the approach 
of day. There is a mystery concerned in each of these. 
The night is the world ; the sleepers are the children of 
this world who are asleep in their sins. The cock is the 
preacher who preacheth boldly and exciteth the sleepers 
to cast away the works of darkness, exclaiming ' Woe unto 
them that sleep ; awake him that sleepeth.' In churches 
sometimes flowers are portrayed and trees to represent 
the fruits of good works springing from the roots of 
virtue. On festivals, curtains are hung up in churches 
for the sake of the ornament they give ; and that by 
visible we may be led to invisible beauty." 

As the thirteenth century advanced the number of lay 
artists and craftsmen increased, and the guilds into which 
they had formed themselves exercised a growing and 
powerful influence upon art. 

The Craft Guilds (with special reference to those of 
London). The craft guilds were democratic brotherhoods 
of workmen composed of wardens, masters, journeymen, 
and apprentices. There had been guilds of a somewhat 
similar kind in Rome and Byzantium, but the forming of 
these later crafts guilds may be said to have been ex- 
tended from the beginning of the twelfth century to the 
middle of the thirteenth, when they were officially 


incorporated into the national life, and brought into 
organized relationship with the municipalities. They 
soon attained a position of great power, and not only 
exercised complete control over their trades, but also were 
concerned with the governing of the towns. 

During their early years the guilds had three main 
motives : first, the supplying of the material needs of 
members, which were provided for by large benefit 
funds, to be used in cases of sickness or distress ; 
second, the spiritual v,elfare of the community, for the 
furthering of which each guild was affiliated to a 
special church, where it often had its own chapel and 
attendant priest ; and third, the protection of the trade 
by means of strict rules regarding hours of work, pure 
material and skilled craftsmanship and laws for the 
prevention of foreign competition. Meetings and re- 
unions played an important part in guild life, and to the 
most important of these, all members were summoned. 
The Guild of St Catherine in Lynn had " four dayes of 
spekyngges tokedere for here comune profyte," and not 
only was every " broder and sistere " to pay a fine of a 
penny (about tenpence of our modern money) for non- 
attendance, but should an\- come " and thenne sit doune 
and grumble " a second penny had to be paid. 

^lany of the old guilds' articles and charters have come 
down to us and show what high ideals of workmanship 
were held by the medieval craftsmen. Here is an extract 
from the articles of the London Furbishcrs, written in 
1350 : " No one of the said trade shall take any manner 
of work for working at from any great Lord or other 
person if he be not a man perfect and a man knowing 
his trade, by testimony of the good folks of the same 
trade, by reason of the perils which may befall the lords 
of this land and others among the people through false 


workmanship to the great scandal of the folks of the said 
trade." In the statutes of the Braders we read : " No one 
of the said trade shall be so daring as to work at this 
trade by night . . . seeing the sight is not so profitable or so 
certain as by day, to the profit of the community." And 
in another place : " No one shall work from the beginning 
of the day until curfew, nor at night by candle light." 
This rule, held by all the guilds, insured a certain 
amount of leisure. Here is another regulation taken 
from the Blacksmiths' articles of 1372 : "Because many 
of the trade . . . who dwell in foreign lanes, do sell their work 
in secret, to a secluded place, and not to a place that is 
open, by reason that the said work is not avowable and 
proper, so that the commonalty is deceived thereby, and 
greatly damaged ; it is ordained that no one of the said 
trade shall cause any false work to be taken through the 
streets for sale in the city, or shall go wandering about 
the said city ... or suburb with false work." To prevent 
this there were certain places in London set apart for the 
erection of booths and the selling of wares, but for the 
most part the work was made and sold at the house of 
the craftsman, and the middleman was almost unknown. 
Competition in this way was regulated, for it was not 
considered right for a craftsman " for to have better sale 
than any other of the co-brethren." 

There were no class distinctions in the guilds. Most 
of the members were of the labouring classes, but 
distinguished men also joined the fraternities, and 
younger sons of the noble families took their place with 
the ordinary apprentices. Only industry and proficiency 
brought highest honours, and no one was admitted to the 
guild whose conduct and honour were not stainless and 
who had not served as an apprentice. The usual term 
of apprenticeship was seven years, and although some 


crafts demanded a shorter period, others, such as the 
Parisian guild of painters and image makers, founded in 
I 39 1, fixed ten or eleven years as the required time of 
pupilage. In the Middle Ages the words " artist " and 
" architect " were unknown. There was no special privilege 
attached to the callings ; the masons, painters, and 
sculptors took their place with the fishmongers, black- 
smiths, bakers, and weavers. Why should a difference be 
made ? They were all workers supplying the daily needs 
of a people who expected sound workmanship and good 
material in everything, and demanded beauty as a matter 
of course, wherever it could be combined with utility. 
Some crafts or trades allowed a fuller expression of it 
than others ; that was the only difference. 

The dates of the founding of the various guilds are 
unfortunately not known. In England it was not until 
the reign of Edward III. (i 372-1377) that they first began 
to receive their ro}'al warrants, but there are many 
evidences of their existence at a much earlier date. 
Stowe says that on the marriage of Edward I. to Queen 
Margaret in 1299 the Fraternities rode out to meet her 
to the number of six hundred, in one livery of red and 
white with the cognizances of their mysteries embroidered 
on their sleeves. Although there is no mention of the 
London guilds of masons until 1353 (owing to a 
disastrous fire in the hall of the company which destroyed 
all the earliest records), it is probable that the guild was 
started by the year 1200 at latest. The London guild 
of goldsmiths is mentioned in i 1 80, and the painters 
obtained a grant of ordinances from the mayor and 
barons of the town in 1283. As their chief work at that 
time was painting saddle bows, they were considered a 
subordinate branch of the saddlers' guild. The London 
weavers' guild existed in the reign of Henry I. ( 1 1 00- 1 1 3 5 )• 


As regards the apprenticeship system, witness is borne to 
its early date in England by an old document of 1274, 
which states that apprentices shall not be received for a 
less term than seven years " according to the ancient and 
established usage." It was not until the sixteenth century 
that a new regulation came into fashion, which required 
apprentices to produce a masterpiece before they were 
formerly accepted as members of the guild. 

It is easy to see how much Gothic art owed to the 
crafts' guilds and their splendid traditions of workmanship, 
which bore fruit until the rise of machiner}' destroyed the 
handicrafts, and introduced problems which are as yet 
unsolved. About eight}- companies still exist in London 
as descendants of the old guilds, and Lord Mayor's day is 
the survival of the civic procession in which the fraternities 
marched on Midsummer's day. 

The Development of Gothic Architecture — Early 
Christian architecture (see p. 234) contained the germs of 
both the Byzantine and Romanesque styles. The former 
of these styles developed in the Near East, according 
to the requirements of the Eastern Church, while the 
Romanesque st}'le was slowly and gradually established 
in the West. It was born of the vigour and enthus- 
iasm of Germanic tribes and was shaped by the traditions 
of classic art and of the art of the Hellenized East, 
and was still further moulded by the ritual of the 
Western Church. It was at first a tentative style, but 
by the beginning of the eleventh century we find it 
firmly established in Italy, France, Germany, and Northern 
Spain, and marked by distinctive and beautiful features 
of its own. It was essentially a transitional and experi- 
mental style, taking on fresh characteristics in each 
district where it developed, and as it spread, rapidly 
widening the departure from the old classic ideals and 


methods. In England the style was introduced at the 
time of William I. and is known as Norman architecture, 
while the work of Norman princes in Sicily dates from 
the same period. Romanesque churches being roofed 
with timber had in consequence narrow naves, while the 
massiveness of the construction was due to the Roman 
tradition and also to the fact that the western builder had 
not yet mastered the scientific methods of meeting strain 
and stress in architecture. As glass was rare, and oiled 
linen took its place, the windows were in consequence 
small and narrow. During the later part of the twelfth 
century, Romanesque art passed almost imperceptibly 
into Gothic art. In the words of Mr H. O. Taylor, " in 
Gothic, possibilities of Romanesque reach their logical 
conclusion. The Vault determines the rest of the 
structure. Downward stress and lateral thrust have 
been analyzed ; they have been gathered up and then 
distributed in currents of pressure exerted along the 
lines of the ribs of the vaulting. Each thrust or stress is 
met by separate support of pillar or colonette, or by directly 
counteracting pressure of pier or flying buttress." ^ 

The monasteries at this time contained the wealthiest 
and largest assemblies of people. The order of the 
Cistercians, or reformed Benedictines, founded in 1098 
at Citeaux in Burgundy, grew with such rapidity that 
within a hundred years of its foundation over three 
thousand monasteries were affiliated to the parent cloister. 
This gave a fresh impetus to architecture and the new 
churches were adapted to the new needs. The plans 
were enlarged and altered, and the choirs, which were 
occupied by a growing body of clergy, were in some cases 
nearly doubled in length. The timber roof was replaced 
by one of stone ; arches were pointed in form instead 

' The Classical Heritage of the Middle Ages. The Macmillan Co., New York. 


of rounded ; the building took the form of a Latin 
Cross ; towers were multiplied, and the simple form 
of the antique column was replaced by columns sur- 
rounded by detached shafts. Above all, the introduction 
of the art of window glazing, which had been ver}- little 
practised in the West, exercised a far-reaching influence 
upon Gothic architecture. The art was probably derived 
from that of enamelling, and the windows were designed 
as a means of teaching the people, and as an expression 
of the faith, but they led eventually to the late Gothic 
ideal of walls of glass connected by stone, as illustrated 
by the Sainte CJiapelle in Paris, and King's College 
Chapel, Cambridge. The glass that was used was made 
in small pieces, a few inches in width and slightly 
irregular in surface, so that the minutely differing planes 
caught the light at varying angles, and, aided by colour, 
produced a wonderfully decorative effect. M. Huysmans 
traces their decorative quality to the influence of the 
carpets, brought by crusaders from the East. He 
describes the windows as " diaphanous carpets, bouquets, 
exhaling the odours of sandalwood and pepper, embalming 
the subtle spices of Magian kings ; they are a perfumed 
bloom of colours gathered — at what price of blood ! — in 
the plains of Palestine, which the West, which brought 
them from thence, offers to the Madonna beneath these 
colder skies, in memory of the sunny lands where she had 
lived, and where her Son had chosen to be born." 

Even as ancient architecture suggests control and 
repose, so Gothic architecture shows fire and energy. 
Ferguson describes its qualities in the following words : 
" Not even the great Pharaonic era in Egypt, the age of 
Pericles in Greece, nor the great period of the Roman 
Empire will bear comparison with the thirteenth century 
in Europe, whether we look to the extent of the build- 


ings executed, their wonderful variety and constructive 
elegance, the daring imagination that conceived them or 
the power of poetry and of lofty religious feeling that is 
expressed in every feature and every part of them."^ 

Sculpture — During the early years of the Middle 
Ages figure sculpture was treated in a decorative and 
formal manner, due in part to the Oriental love of 
pattern, and influenced by the strong dislike of the 
Christian Church to all forms reminiscent of pagan 
worship. So strong were these influences that for many 
hundreds of years monumental sculpture was only used as 
an architectural adjunct. In Romanesque art, this decora- 
tive sculpture found its most splendid expression, and 
produced such figures as the " Ancestors of the Virgin " 
on the west front of Chartres Cathedral, figures remark- 
able for their dignity and rigid beauty, and for a certain 
spirit of delicate austerity which hangs about them like a 

Gothic sculpture developed out of Romanesque sculp- 
ture, and owing to the fire and energy of the Gothic 
spirit, coupled with a renewed observation of natural forms 
and a growing command over technique, attained a 
splendid expression. The bonds imposed by the Church 
were loosened and the craftsmen turned to nature for 
their inspiration. The medieval mind, simple and child- 
like, accepted all that it found there, and a dewy freshness 
and naive simplicity lurk in late Romanesque and early 
Gothic work. A Runic inscription on a carved font in 
Bridekirk in Northumberland has been modernized by 
Mr Prior and Mr Gardner in the following words : — 

" He was Richard who me wrought 
And me to Grace with joy he brought." 

^ History of Architecture. Murray. 

PLATE .\'.\'K/ 


( The .■IpostlfS. I'ti till' bat'ki^roiiud, art" a later Gothie additiou ) 


This unknown craftsman has chosen his words with 
insight, for there could be no better description of the crea- 
tion of the sculpture of this period than that of '"'bringing 
to grace with joy." The same writers in describing the 
architectural connection of Gothic figure-sculpture state, 
firstly, that " Gothic architecture made an era of figure- 
sculpture in the art history of the world — a creation of 
style that was an event in the life of humanity ; and 
secondly, that as a corollar}- of this, the character of 
Gothic figure work lay in its being carved of stone, as 
distinguished from the metal and marble creations of the 
classic and Italian arts." ^ 

Sculpture, which was almost always coloured and gilded, 
was constructionally, symbolically, and aesthetically a neces- 
sary part of Gothic churches, and a Gothic Cathedral 
is a complete mirror of the life of the times. It is not 
only the differing aspects of Christianity that are revealed 
in its fabric, the ceremonial, the mystical, the emotional, 
and all the joy, sorrow, and ecstasy of the faith ; but 
with a quaint and impish humour the episodes of 
everyday life are also set forth, together with representa- 
tions of the sins and faults that all must eschew, and 
versions of the little histories and old fables that lingered 
in the mind of the medieval craftsman. Pagan types 
were altered to suit Christian themes. Hermes, carr\-ing 
his sheep, was changed into Christ with a lamb : Sibyls, 
who prophesied the coming of the Saviour, took their 
place by the side of the medieval saints ; and old 
abbots and bishops, who were preys to human foibles, 
were slyly held up as examples to the discerning eye. 
The vine, leaf, and blossom, that wreathed and clustered 
so delicately in stone and wood, showed forth the 

"• An Account of Medieval Figure Sculpture in England. Gardner & Prior. 
Cambridge University Press. 


abundant beauties of the world of God's creation. The 
Gothic sepulchral effigy, in its remote serenity and utter 
peacefulness, was a new and unconscious expression of 
Christian faith, and differed from all classic monuments 
of a similar type. 

The subject of the symbolism that underlies Gothic 
sculpture is too big to be entered upon here, but all who 
want a full and interesting account can find it in 
Religions Art of the Thirteenth Century in France, which 
is an English translation by Miss Dora Nussey of 
M. Emile Male's well-known work, 

Gothic Painting — Gothic painting followed the same 
lines of development as Gothic sculpture. In the south, 
it found its greatest expression in the art of Giotto and 
the early Tuscan and Sieiies^^painters, whlTe iii the 
north, the chief centre of Romanesque painting, situated 
in Germany, developed into the northern Gothic schools 
of Prague and Cologne. The school of the Netherlands, 
and that of Westminster in England, were offshoots of 
these northern schools, while fine schools were also 
established in France and Portugal. 


From the " Treatise on Art" of the monk Thoiophilus {Rugetius of 
Helmershausen), written about the year woo A.D} 

" Cheered by these supporting virtues, my beloved son, thou hast 
approached God's house in all faith, and adorned it with such 
abundant comeliness ; and having illuminated the vaults of the walls 
with divers works and divers colours, thou hast in a manner shown 
forth to the beholders a vision of God's paradise, bright as spring-tide, 
with flowers of every hue, and fresh with green grass and leaves, 
refreshing the souls of the Saints with crowns proportioned to their 

* Published in the Burlington Magazine, October 1912. 


divers merits, whereby thou makest them to preach His wonders in 
His works. For man's eyes knoweth not whereon first to gaze : if he 
looks up at the vaults, they are as mantles embroidered with spring 
flowers; if he regard the walls, there is a manner of paradise ; if he 
consider the light streaming through the windows, he marvelleth at 
the priceless beauty of the glass and the variety of this most precious 
work. Work, therefore, now good man — kindle thyself to a still 
ampler art, and set thyself with all the might of thy soul to complete 
that which is yet lacking in the gear of the Lord's house, without 
which the divine mysteries and the ministries of God's service 
may not stand." 


From two old inventories of the embroideries of 
(a) Ely Cathedral, {b) Lincoln Cathedral. 


"A cope of blue bawdkin, with lions of gold and unicorns white." 
"An altarpiece of blue velvet, embroidered with archangels." 
" A great tappit of red to lie afore the high altar, with white roses 
and pomegranites." 

"A front of old green bawdkin, with swans of gold." 

"A suit of old white bawdkin, mixed with flowers." 

" A single vestment of white damaske embroidered with lily pots." 

A chesable of rede bawdkyn wt leopards powdered wt blake 
V coopes of Rede velvett wt kateryn wheels of gold. 
An other coop of blew wt dolphins of gold, 
ij clothes of bawdkyn wt magpyes and poppyn Jayes. 
one old cloth powdered wt cocks and mullets in gold. 
A rede coop wt birds more or lesse. 
A red cope of satten wt two Angells singing in the hood. 


Tax not the royal Saint with vain expense. 

With ill-matched aims the architect who planned— 

Albeit labouring, for a scanty band 

Of white-robed scholars only — this immense 

And glorious work of fine intelligence ! 


Give all thou can'st ; high heaven rejects the lore 
Of nicely calculated less or more ; 
So deemed the man, who fashioned for the sense 
These lofty pillars, spread the branching roof 
Self poised, and scooped into ten thousand cells. 
Where light and shade repose where music dwells 
Lingering — and wandering on as loath to die ; 
Like thoughts whose very sweetness yieldeth proof 
That they were born for immortality. 
Inside of King's College Chapel, Canii>nWge— WORDSWORTH. 


A casement high and triple-arched there was, 
All garlanded with carven imageries 
Of fruits and flowers and bunches of knot grass, 
And diamonded with panes of quaint device, 
Innumerable of stains, and splendid dyes, 
As are the tiger-moth's deep-damask'd wings ; 
And in the midst 'mong thousand heraldries, 
And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings, 
A shielded scutcheon blush'd with blood of queens and kings. 

The Eve of St Agnes — Keats. 

But let my due feet never fail 

To walk the studious cloisters pale, 

And love the high embowed roof 

With antique pillars massy proof, 

And storied windows richly dight, 

Casting a dim religious light : 

There let the pealing organ blow 

To the full-voiced choir below, 

In service high and anthem clear, 

As may with sweetness, through mine ear 

Dissolve me into extasies 

And bring all heav'n before mine eyes. 

// Penseroso — MiLTON, 

COMPARATIVE CHRONOLOGICAL CHART (Illus/mtin,!; points men/toned in the early lessons) 

EGYPT (Breasled's Chronology). 









450Q. Pre-dynas.lio kingdoms flourishing 
4341. Introduction of calendar year of 
c. 4000. Fusion of small states into kingd 
of Upper and Lower Egypt. 






3400. Menes, isl king of Uniltd Egypt. 
1st Dynasty. 


Zozer. "\ 







Old KinKd'jm Dynasties 



Pepi I. 


c. 3000. Ur Nina. 

Sh.^rg.^nt-Sha^ri (Sargon 
Lif Akkad) and his son 
Niirani Sin. 


nliei I. 

1980. SesoMri> 1. 

1958. Amenemhet II. 

1Q06. ScsoMrJv II. 

TS87. St^ostris III. 

1849. Amenemhet 111. 

I Middle 
;■ Kingdom . 
I Uynasiies ' 
XI.&XII. ; 

. 2450. Giidea. 

i. 2050. I'irsl Daliylonian Dyn- 

200Q. Rise of Assyri 

1580. .\hmosL- I. 1 

1501 Thuimose III., Thui- 
lo mose 11.. anil Hal- ' 

1447. shepsut. 

141 1. Amenhoicp 111. and 1 iy. 

1^75. Ikhnaton. 

£. "350. Harnihal)- 

c. 1315. Ramses I. 

<-. 1513. St;li I. 

.. 1292, Rnmsc!>ll. 



' DyiListius 

XIX. and 


. 1250. Bal>yloii 

fiOi. Conquest of Ecypl l>y Assyria- 
■ lofThebe; 

Tiglalh Pile; 

Conquest 01" Babylonia by ' .\\sur-Nasir-pal 111. 

Psamliu I. 

(Restoration or .Saitic 
■j period. XXVI. 
{ Dynasty. 

53J. CoiuiucM of Kgi'pt by Greece. 
52s- Conquesi of Egypt by Persia. 

30, Coiiiiucst lif Egypt by Rome. 

c. 2852. Fu-Hsi. First historical 

2700. Legendary origin of 
Chinese painting. 

2S00. Beginning of Early Min- 
oaii period, 

aoool CuhiiJn.iiion of Early 
to [- Mifioan period. Biirni 
2400.) city Hissarlik. 

^oo^ CuliHiiiation of Middle 

{^ Minuan period. First 

'■^ ) cliii!a\ of Minoan civil- 

} Hsia Dynasty, 

Slian^ Dynasty. 

i9Do.y iiwti 

1700. Rise of Tiryns and My- 

Culmination of Late Min- 
prriod. kno**'!! as 
ace Period. 

1350. SuprtiiLioy of Tiryp)S and 
Myc'-iic, ' 

15U0I Culnii 

to > o.'h 

1450./ Pal 

Sixth city, ) 
Hiss-irlik \ 


represented ) 

CHoni.i's j l>y Homeric 

Troy) J poems, 

Dorian liivohiaii. 

IClruNcani. kcttlc in It.ily- 

605. N<buchadne/^at II. 
539. Persian conijuesl. 

331-330. Conquests of Alexan 

745. Tigiath Pileser IV, 

722. Sargon. 

705. Senacherib. 

681. Esarhaddon. 

66S. Ashur-bani-pal. 

606. Fall of Ninevfh. Rule of 
Medes and Persians. 

;-Chow Dynasty 

22'. ; 

2o6. Iteginning of Han Dyn- 

vRisc of classic Greece. 

to V Period of Kings. 

^^y..^^^. Victorji: 
429 Death of Pe 

Death of .Mex-mder the 

J40. Greecebeconicsa Rwm;in 

Putiod of KqtuhliL 

■ij. llcunifiiiig of liiii|*rc 


OWING to the limitation of space, it is unfortunately 
impossible to print the full list of authorities con- 
sulted in the compilation of this volume. A very 
great number of books and periodical publications on art, 
archaeology, travel, history, and biography have been 
referred to, and the author is only sorry that full acknow- 
ledgments are not possible. The list given below, which 
has no pretensions to completeness, consists of English 
books and a few important foreign publications, which 
will be found useful by all who want further information 
in connection with each lesson. The author is indebted 
to the greater number of them. The books which have 
the best photographic illustrations are marked with a 
star, while those whose chief feature consists of a series 
of good illustrations are marked by a double one. 


*A History of Art. Carotti. Vol. I., Ancient Art ; Vol. II., 

Medieval Art. Duckworth 1909 

*Apollo. Reinach. Heinemann. 2nd ed. . , . 1907 
*The Childhood of Art. Spearing. Kegan Paul . . 1912 
The Dawn of Civilization. Maspero. Society for Pro- 
moting Christian Knowledge. 4th ed. . . . 1901 

The Struggle of the Nations. Maspero. Society for Pro- 
moting Christian Knowledge. ..... 1896 

The Passing of the Empires. Maspero. Society for Pro- 
moting Christian Knowledge. ..... 1900 

*The Ancient History of the Near East. Hall. Methuen. 1913 
*Histoire de I'Art Chretien. Michel. Vols. I.-V. Paris . 1905, etc. 




♦Medieval Art. Lethaby. Duckworth. 3rd ed. 
The Classical Heritage of the Middle Ages. H. O. Taylor 

The Macmillan Co., New York .... 

A History of Architecture : Ancient and Medieval. 2 vols 

3rd ed. 1893. Indian and Eastern. 2 vols. 1910, 

Fergusson. Murray 

♦Medieval Architecture. A. K. Porter. 2 vols. Batsford 

*A History of Architecture. Russell Sturgis. 3 vols. 


*A History of Architecture. Banister Fletcher. Batsford. 

5th ed 

Architecture. Lethaby. Williams & Norgate (Home 
University Library) ....... 

The Works of Man. L. March Phillipps. Duckworth. 

2nd ed 

The Fine Arts. G. Baldwin Brown. Murray. 2nd ed. . 
The Works of Ruskin 
**Der schone Mensch. Altertum. (300 plates and 210 in 
text.) Edited BuUe. Hirth, Leipzig. New ed. 

1 901 







Lesson I 

The Beginnings of Art. Grosse. New York 
Pre-historic Times. Lord Avebury. Williams & Norgate. 

7th ed 

Pre-historic Man. Duckworth. Cambridge University 
Press ......... 

♦Ancient Hunters and their Modern Representatives 

SoUas. Macmillan 

Paleolithic Man and Terramarra Settlements in Europe, 

Munro. Oliver & Boyd 

Guide to the Antiquities of the Stone Age. British 

Museum Trustees 

*La caverne d'Altamira a Santillane. Cartailhac et Breuil 

Imprimerie de Monaco ..... 

*La caverne de Font de Gaume. Capitan, Breuil et 

Peyrony. Monaco 

L'art Quartenaire. Reinach. Paris .... 
♦Der Mensch der Vorzeit. Obermaier. Berlin . 






Lessons II and III 

*A History of Egypt. Breasted. Scribner . . . igo6 
A History of the Ancient Egyptians (abridged from the 

above). Breasted. Smith Elder .... 1908 

A History of Egypt; Vols. I., II., and III. Petrie. 

Methuen ........ 1899-1905 

A History of Egypt. Newberry & Garstang. Constable. 1904 
A History of Art in Ancient Egypt. 2 vols. Perrot and 

Chipiez. Chapman & Hall ...... 1883 

*The Arts and Crafts of Ancient Egypt. Petrie. Foulis . igog 

*Art in Egypt (Ars Una Series). Maspero. Heinemann . igi2 

The Life and Times of Akhnaton. Weigall. Blackwood 1910 
*A Guide to the First and Second Egyptian Rooms. 2nd ed. 

British Museum Trustees ...... 1904 

*A Guide to the Third and Fourth Egyptian Rooms. British 

Museum Trustees 1904 

Lesson IV 

*Mesopotamian Archaeology. Handcock. Lee Warner . 1912 
A History of Art in Chaldea and Assyria. Perrot and 

Chipiez. Chapman & Hall ..... 1884 

*Exploration in Bible Lands. Hilprecht. Clark . . 1903 

Nineveh. Layard. 2 vols. Murray .... 1849 

*Guide to the Babylonian and Assyrian Antiquities. British 

Museum Trustees. 2nd ed. igo8 

*Nippur. Peters. 2 vols. Putnam .... i8g7 
A History of Art in Persia. Perrot and Chipiez. Chap- 
man & Hall i8g2 

Lesson V 

*Painting in the Far East. L. Binyon. Arnold. 2nd ed. igi3 

*Epochs of Chinese and Japanese Art. FenoUosa. 2 vols. 

Heinemann igi3 

*Chinese Art. Bushell. 2 vols. South Kensington Hand- 
books .......... igio 

Introduction to the History of Chinese Pictorial Art. 

Giles. Quaritch 1905 

The Ideals of the East. Okakura-Kakuso. Murray . 1905 


*Les Peintres Chinois. R. Petrucci. Paris . . . 1910 
**The Kokka. In parts. 

**Selected Relics of Chinese and Japanese Art. Ed. Tajima 
(complete in 20 vols.) 

*Ruins of Desert Kathay. Stein. 2 vols. Macmillan . 1912 

Lesson VI 

Crete, the Fore-Runner of Greece. Hawes. Harper 
The Discoveries in Crete. Burrows. Murray . 
*Palaces of Crete. Mosso. 
Art in Primitive Greece. 

& Hall . 
Schliemann's Excavations. 
Troja. Schliemann. Murray 
*Annual of the British School 

Perrot and Chipiez. 


Schuchhardt. Macmillan 

at Athens (articles on 




Lessons VII and VIII 

A Companion to Greek Studies. Edited Whibley. Cam- 
bridge University Press ...... 1905 

*A History of Greek Sculpture. E. Gardner. Macmillan. 

2nd ed. 1896 

*Six Greek Sculptors. E. Gardner. Duckworth . . igri 
Religion and Art in Ancient Greece. E.Gardner. Harper 1910 
*Ancient Athens. E. Gardner. Macmillan . . . 1902 
*The Art of the Greeks. Walters. Methuen . . . 1906 
*Greek Athletic Sports and Festivals. E. Norman 

Gardiner. Macmillan ....... 1910 

The Greek View of Life. Lowes Dickinson. Methuen. 

7th ed 1909 

*The Architecture of Greece and Rome. Anderson & 

Spiers. Batsford. 2nd ed . . . . . . 1907 

**Greek Architecture. E. Browne (Great Buildings and 

how to enjoy them Series). Black .... 1909 

The Principles of Greek Art. P. Gardner. Macmillan. 1914 
A Short History of Ancient Greek Sculptors. E. Legge. 

Unwin 1903 

Essays on the Art of Phidias. \\'aldstein. Cambridge 

University Press 1885 



•**Antike Portrats. R. Delbriick. Bonn 
**Greek Art. Warrack. Schultz . 

Life in Ancient Athens. Tucker. Macmillan 


Lesson IX 

A Companion to Latin Studies. Edited Sandys. Cam- 
bridge University Press ...... 1910 

*Roman Art. E. Strong. Duckworth. 2nd ed. 2 vols. . 1912 
*The Art of the Romans. Walters. Methuen . . . 191 1 
Roman Art. Wickhoff. Trans. E. Sellers. Heinemann 1900 
*The Architecture of Greece and Rome. Anderson and 

Spiers. Batsford. 2 vols. 2nd ed 1907 

The Evolution of Art in Roman Portraiture. Wace. 
Journal of the British and American Archsological 

Society of Rome 1906 

**Antike Portrats. R. Delbriick. Bonn .... 1912 
Companion to Roman History. Stewart Jones. Oxford 

University Press 191 2 

Lesson X 

*Byzantine Art and Archccology. Dalton. Clarendon 

Press 1912 

The Church of Sancta Sophia, Constantinople. Lethaby 

and Swainson. Macmillan ...... 1904 

*Guide to the Early Christian and Byzantine Antiquities. 

British Museum Trustees ...... 1903 

■^Christian Art and Archteology. Lowrie. Macmillan . 1906 
*Byzantine and Romanesque Architecture. 2 vols. Jackson. 

Cambridge University Press 1913 

The Age of Justinian and Theodora. 2 vols. Holmes. 

Bell 1907 

Constantinople. W. E. Hutton (Medieval Towns Series). 

Dent. 3rd. ed. ........ 1909 

**Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture (Great 
Buildings and how to enjoy them Series). E. Browne. 

Black 191 2 

Justinian et la civilisation Byzantine au Vlth Siecle. Diehl. 

Paris 1910 



Lesson XI 

**Ausstellung von Meisterwerke Muhammedanischer Kunst 

3 vols. Bruckmann, Berlin 

L'art Arabe. Gayet. Paris 

„ Copte. „ „ 

>) I erse. „ ,,...... 

*Manuel d'art Mussulman. 2 vols. Saladin and Migeon 


Arabic Spain. Sidelights on her History and Art. B. and 

E. Whishaw. Smith Elder 

**Cordova (Spanish Series). Calvert and Gallichan 
**Granada and the Alhambra (Spanish Series). Calvert 
*A History of Egypt in the Middle Ages. S. Lane-Poole 


Cairo (Medieval Towns Series). S. Lane-Poole. Dent 
Baghdad during the Abbasid Caliphate. Le Strange 
Clarendon Press ....... 

The Caliphate : its Rise and Fall. Muir. Smith Elder 
A Short History of the Saracens. Ameer Ali Syed 








Lessons XII and XIII 

*Gothic Architecture in England. Bond. Batsford . . 1912 
A History of Gothic Architecture in England. Prior. Bell 1900 
^Cathedrals of England and Wales. Bond. Batsford . 1912 
**The Cathedrals and Other Churches of Great Britain. 

Warrack. Schultz 1912 

**Gothic Architecture. E. Browne (Great Buildings and 

how to enjoy them). Black 191 1 

**Romanesque Architecture. E. Browne (Great Buildings 

and how to enjoy them). Black ..... 191 1 
**Norman Architecture. E. Browne (Great Buildings and 

how to enjoy them). Black 1907 

Westminster Abbey and the King's Craftsmen. Lethaby. 

Duckworth ......... 1906 

♦Westminster Abbey. Bond. Clarendon Press . . 1906 

Memorials of Westminster Abbey. Stanley. Murray . 1863 
Gleanings from Westminster Abbey. Scott Oxford 

University Press 1863 


*An Account of Medieval Figure Sculpture in England. 

Prior and Gardner. Cambridge University Press . 1912 
^Religious Art of the Thirteenth Century in France. Male. 

Translated D. Nussey. Dent 19 13 

**The Sculptures of Chartres Cathedral. Marriage. Cam- 
bridge University Press ...... 1909 

Chartres (Medieval Towns Series). C. Headlam. Dent . 1902 
**Documents de Sculpture Francaise. Vol. II. Le Moyen 

Age. Vitry. Paris 191 1 

**Deutsche Plastik des Mittelalters. Sauerlandt. Diissel- 

dorf. 2nd ed 1911 

English Guilds. Toulmin Smith. Early English Text 

Society 1870 

The Symbolism of Churches and Church Ornaments. 
(Translation of first book of William Durandus.) 
Edited Neale and Webb. Gibbings .... 1893 



{Refet-ring to Fart II. of each Lesson only.) 

Abderrahman I., 260, 274 

Abderrahman III., 260 

Abraha, king of Yemen, 267 

Acropolis, 172 

Adad, see Ramman 

^gean — archceology, 121 flf. ; archi- 
tecture, 128; art, 125 fF.; civiliza- 
tion, 119; painting, 129; religion, 

Aghia Triadha, 129 ; sarcophagus 
from, 130; vases from, 131 

Agias, statue of, 179 

Akhnaton, see Ikhnaton 

Al Ahmar, 276 

Alcinous, palace of, 134 

Alexander the Great, 156, 179 

Alexandria, 261 

Alexandrian School, 212, 219, 232, 

Alhambra, 276 ; frescoes of, 266 

Altamira, cavern of, 16 

Amen or Ammon, 38 

Amenemhet I., II., and III., 50 

Amenhotep III., 52, 55 

Amenhotep, son of Hapi, inscription 

of, 54 
'Amr, 261 ; mosque of, 271 
Anthemius of Tralles, 245 ff, 
Antinous, busts of, 217 
Antioch, 181, 232, 236 
Antiochus III., bust of, 181 
Antonine dynasty, 217 
Anu, 74 
Anubis, 38 
Apelles, 162, 182 

Aphrodite, 159, 202; of Cnidus, 178 
Apollo, 158, 202 ; with the lizard, 

178; Choiseul-Gouffier, 171 
ApoUodorus, 162, 182 

Apoxyomenus, statue of, 179 

Aquae Sulis (Bath), gorgon's head 
from, 222 

Arabs — Art, 263 ff. ; Byzantine in- 
fluence on, 267 ; Coptic influence 
on, 268 ; Persian influence on, 269 ; 
History, 256 £E. ; in Egypt, 261 ; in 
Spain, 261 ; Mosques, 270 

Ara Pare is, 209, 213 

Architecture — ^-tgean, 128; Arab, 
270 ff. ; Babylonian and Assyrian, 
77 ff. ; Byzantine, 243 ff. ; Chinese, 
no ; Coptic, 269 ; Early Christian, 
234; Egyptian, 46 ff. ; Greek, 162 
ff. ; Gothic, 307 ff. ; Neolithic, 9 ; 
Norman, 30S ; Persian, 85, 270 ; 
Roman, 204 ft". ; Romanesque, 307 

Ares, 159 

Argos, School of, 162, 166 

Arhats, 102 

Arretium, pottery from, 220 

Arringatore, statue of, 211 

Artemis, 158 

Ashur, 74 

Ashur-bani-pal, 73 ; sculpture of, 81 

Ashur-nasir-pal, 73 ; sculpture of, 

Assyrians, see Babylonians 

Athena, 158; statues of, 172, 173, 
174, 232 

Athletic festivals, 160 

Aton, hymn to, 41 

Atrida;, princes of the, 123 

Attic tomb-stones, 161, 178 

Augustus, 206, 212; busts of, 213; 
statue from Prima Porta, 213 ; 
Arch of, 207 

Australian aborigines, 10 

Az-Zahra, palace of, 275 




Baalbek, temple at, 206 

Babylon, doom of (Isaiah), 88 

Babylonians and Assyrians — Archi- 
tecture, 77 ff. ; burial customs of, 
76 ; description of their false gods 
(Xahum), 89 ; history, 70 flf. ; 
painting, S3 ; religion, 73 ; sculp- 
ture, 79 ; seals, 85 ; terra-cotta 
work, 83 

Baghdad, Caliphate of, 257, 262 ; 
city of, 259 ; art of, 272 

Basil I., 237 

Basil, saint, 235 

BAtons de Commanderuent, 16 

Beehive tombs, Mycence, 125 

Bel, 74 

Benedictines, 308 

Beni Hassan, paintings at, 51 

Bernard of Clairvaux, 301 

Book of the Dead, 39 

Brasempuoy, head of a girl from, 15 

Breuil, the Abbe, 16 

Bridekirk, inscription on font at, 31 

Britain, Roman art in, 221 

Bronzes, Chinese, 1 1 1 

Buddha, 100; representations of, lOI 

Bull, Assyrian winged, 266 

Bull baiting, Minoan practice of, 118 

Bull's head from Knossos, 132 

Burgundians, 298 

Bushmen, 10 

Byzantium — Architecture, 243 fif. ; 
art, 236 f[.; history, 231 ff . ; 
mosaics and painting, 239 ; sculp- 
ture, 242 ff. 

Cairo, 262 

Calamis, 162, 170 

Calleva (Silchesler), 221 

Cameos, Roman, 220 

Caracalla, bust of, 218 

Carcasonne, 298 

Caves, prehistoric, 12, 14 

Ceres, 202 

Cervetri, sarcophagus from, 198 

Chaldeans, 71 

Charioteer from Delphi, i/O ; from 
Mausoleum, 177 

China — Architecture, no; art, 97, 103 ; 
bronzes. III; civilization, 97 ; paint- 
ing, 106 ; porcelain and pottery, 
112; religion, 99; sculpture, 109 

Choiseul-Gouffier Apollo, 171 

Chosroes I., 270 

Chow dynasty, 103 

Cicero, 175 

Cimon, 172 

Cistercians, 308 

Colosseum, 206 

Colossi of Memnon, 55 

Combarelles, Grotte des, 17 

Confucius, 99 

Constantine the Great, 219, 231 ; 

arch of, 207, 219 ; basilicae of, 234 
Constantinople, founding of, 236 ; 

sack of, 237 
Copts, 257 ; art of, 266, 268 ff., 273 
Cordova, Caliphate of, 260, 276 ; 

Mosque of, 274 ff. 
Corinthian Order of Architecture, 

Corstopitum (Corbridge), lion from, 

Court ladies, Minoan fresco of, 129 
Crocus gatherer, Minoan fresco of, 

Ctesiphon, 235 
Cyclopean walls, 128 

Daggers, Mycenoean, 124, 131 
Damascus, 259 ; mosque at, 272 
Delphi, charioteer from, 170; Painted 

Porch at, 182 
Demeter, 158, 202 
Demonic figures in Chinese Art, 102 
De Siderus, abbot of Mende, 301 
Diocletian, 196 ; baths of, 206 
Dionysius, 159 
Discobolus, statue of, 171 
" Diver '" from Knossos, 131 
Dolmens, 9 

Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, 268 
Domitian, 214 
Donne, lines by, 119 
Dorian invasion, 120, 125 
Dorpfeld. Dr, 123 

Doric order of architecture, 163, 205 
Dragon and tiger in Chinese art, 103 
Drift men, 1 1 
Durandus, bishop of Mende, 302 

Ea, 74 

Eannatun, 70 ; sculpture of, 79 

Early Christian art, 234 



Ecbatana, 84 

Egj'pt — Art, Pre-dynastic, 46 ; Old 
Kingdom, 47 ; Middle Kingdom, 
50 ; Empire, 53 ; Saitic, 57 ; burial 
customs, 40 ; chronology, 58 ; his- 
tory and civilization, 34 ; religion, 
36 ; Egyptian and Assyrian sculp- 
ture, comparison between, 81 

El-Fustat, city of, 261 

Ely Cathedral, inventory of, 313 

Eocene period, 10 

Ephesus, column from, 177 

Erech, 70 

Erechtheiis, 185 

Eridu, 70 

Esarhaddon, 73 ; inscription of, 80 

Eskimos, 10 

Etruscans, history of, 197 ; art of, 

Evans, Sir Arthur, 124 

Eve of St Agnes, 124 

Ezekiel, book of, 83 

Farnese bull, statue of, 180 
Faun of Praxiteles, 178 
Faustina, busts of, 218 
Flavian dynasty, sculpture of, 214 
Font de Gauvie, cavern of, 13 
Frontality, system of, 44, 170 
Fu-Hsi, Chinese Emperor, 97 

Gaiseric, 196 

Galla Placida, 242 

Genso, 104 

Gilgamish, 75 

Gimigniano, San, 300 

Goat and kids from Knossos, 131 

Gothic art — Architecture, 307 ff. ; his- 
tory of, 298 ff. ; painting, 312 ; 
sculpture, 310 ff. 

Gournia, town of, 129 

Grseco-Roman art, 181, 212 

Granada, 275 ff. 

Great goddess, faience figure of, 131 

Greece — Architecture, 162 ff. ; coins 
and gems, 184 ; history and civiliza- 
tion, 154 ff. ; painting, 182 ; religion, 
156 ff. ; sculpture, 164 ; terra- 
cottas, 184 ; vase painting, 183 

Gregory, St, 301 

Gudea, 71 ; sculpture of, 79 

Guilds, 303 ff. 

Hadith, law of the, 265 

Hadrian, 217 ; wall of, 203 

Halaku, the Mongol, 263 

Han dynasty, 103 

Hanging gardens of Babylon, 79 

Harun-al-Raschid, 267, 273 

Harpy tomb, 167 

Hatshepsut, Queen, 52 

Heidelberg skull, 8 

Hellenistic art, 179 

Hephsestus, 159 

Hercules, 202 

Hermes, 158, 202; statues of, 165, 

Herms, 180 
Herodotus, 34, 84 
Hestia, 158 
Hieraconpolis, 46 
Holocene period, 4 
Homer, 123, 173 
Horus, 38 

Horse-shoe arch in Spain, 273 
Hyksos invasion, 51 

Ice Age, ii 

Ickhnaton, 39, 41, 56 

Ictinus, 173 

II Penseroso, 314 

Impost capital, 244 

Inside of King's College Chapel, 3 1 4 

Ionic order of architecture, 205 

Isidorus of Miletus, 245 

Isis, 38, 202 

Ishta, 75 

Janus, 201 

Japanese art, 112 

Java skull, 8 

Juiio-Claudian dynasty, sculpture of, 

Julius Caesar, 221 ; arch of, 207 
Jupiter, 202 
Justinian, 232, 267 

Kakemonos, 107 

Karnac, temple of, 53 

Kassites, 71 

Keftiu, princes of the, 120 

Khafre, 47 ; statue of, 49 

Khnemu, 39 

Khorsabad, palace of, 77) 82 

Khufu, 47 



Knossos, palace of, 127, 129 

Koran, 258 

Kuhlai Khan, 105; palace of, 113 

Ku-kai-chi, 106 

Kwan-yin, 102 


Lao Tzu, 100 

Laocoon, statue of, 180 

Lar, 201 

Lincoln Cathedral, inventory of, 313 

Lindum (Lincoln), 221 

Lombards, 298 

Ludovisi Throne, 170 

Luitprand, bishop of Cremona, 238 

Luxor, temple of, 53 

Lysippus, 162, 178 

Macedonian dynasty, 237 

Makimonos, 107 

Mansur, 272 

Marco Polo, 105 ; journal of, 113 

Marcus Aurelius, 217 ; column of, 208 

Marduk, see Bel 

Mars, 202 

Marsayas, statue of, 171 

Mastaba, 40, 43 

Mater Matuta, temple of, 208 

Mausolus, 177 

Medieval church, 202 

Meleager, statue of, 177 

Memphis, 35, 47 

Menes, 46 

Mercurius, 202 

Mertisen, inscription of, 51 

Minerva, 202 

Ming dynasty, 105 ; tombs, no 

Minoan civilization and art, 125 

Minos, 132 

Minotaur, 132 

Miocene jieriod, 10 

" Missing Link," 8 

Mithras, 202 

Mohammed, 257 ff. ; law of, 265 

Mohammedan art, 263 

Mongols, 105, 262 

Moors, 260, 273, 276 

Mosaics, Byzantine, 242 ; Roman, 

Mosques, 270 

Mycenae, 123 ; lion gate at, 128, 130 
Myron, 162, 170 

Nabu, 74 

Naram Sin, 70 

Narmer, 46 

Neanderthal skull, 8 

Nebuchadrezzar IL, 72 

Neferhotep, inscription of, 42 

Neolithic age, 9 

Nero, 214 

Nicea, council of, 239 

Nile, hymn to, 58 

Nineveh, 72 ; doom of, 87 

Nippur, 70 

Norman architecture, 308 

Nut, 38 

Cannes, 74 

Oligocene period, 10 

Olympia, pediments from temple at, 

Osiris, 38 
Ostrogoths, 298 

Painting — ^gean, 129 ff. ; Arab, 
265 ff. ; Babylonian and Assyrian, 
83 ff. ; Byzantine, 239 ff. ; Chinese, 
49 ff. ; Early Christian, 235 ; 
Gothic, 312; Greek, 182: Paleo- 
lithic, 15 ff. ; Roman, 219; Roman- 
esque, 312 

Pair-non-Pair, cave of, 14 

Paleolithic art, 15 ff. ; civilization, 8 

Panselinos, Manuel, 240 

Pantheon, 208 

Parthenon, 163, 172 

Paulus, 245 ; poem of, 247 

Paulus ^^milius, 199 

Pausanias, 123 

Penates, 201 

Penetential psalms, Babylonian, 76 

Pepi L, 45; mortuary text of, 46; 
statue of, 49 

Pergamum, school of 180 

Pericles, 155, 172, 175 

Persian art, 85, 269 

Perugia, walls of, 205 

Phxstos, palace at, 129 

Phidias, 162, 168, 170 

Philippus Arabs, bust of, 218 

Plato, 167, 168 

Pleistocene period, 11, 18 

Pliocene period, 10 

Polyclitus, 162, 176 

Polygnotus, 162, 1S2 



Pont du Gard, Nimes, 208 

Poseidon, 158 

Praxiteles, 162, 177 

Prehistoric man, 8 

Primary epoch, 10 

Procopius, chronicle of, 245 

Psamtic I., 57 

Ptah, 38 

Pyramids, 43, 47 

Pythagoras of Rhegium, 162, 170 

Quaternary epoch, ii 
Quintilian, 173 

Ra, 37 

Rahotep and Nefert, statues of, 49 

Rammam, 74 ; prayer to, 86 

Ramses II., 52 

Ravenna, 196, 236, 242 

Republic, art of Roman, 211 

Rhea, 124 

Rhodes, school of, 180 

Rishi, 102 

Rome — Architecture, 204; art, general 
characteristics, 203 ; main factors 
in, 197 ; histor}- and civilization, 
195 ff. ; painting and mosaics, 219 ; 
religion, 201 ; sculpture, 209 iT. 

Romanesque architecture, 307 ; sculp- 
ture, 310 

Rothenburg, 298 

Sainte Chapelle, 309 

Saladin, 262 

Samarra, 259 ; mosque at, 272 

Samian ware, 220 

Sana, 256 

Sancta Sophia, church of, 236, 244 

San Marco, church of, 237 

Sarcophagus from Aghia Triadha, 130; 

from Cervetri, 198; Ionic, 182; 

from Sidon, 179 
Sargon, 73 ; inscription of, 82 
Sargon of Akkad, 70 
Sassanids and Sassanian art, 238, 244, 

Savages, art of, 10, 12 
Saxons, 298 
Schliemann, Dr, 121 
Scopas, 162, 177 
Sculpture — .^gean, 130 ff. ; Arab, 

265 ff. ; Babylonian and Assyrian, 

79 fT. ; Byzantine, 242 ff.; Chinese, 
109 ; Egyptian, 46 ff. ; Gothic, 
310 ff.; Greek, 164 ff.; Paleolithic, 
15 ff. ; Roman, 209 ff. 

Seated scribe, statue of, 49 

Seb, 37 

Sebek, 39 

Secondary epoch, 10 

Shedi and Lantassi, 75, 80 

Sekhemhet or Sekhet, 38 

Selucia, 156, 181, 235 

Sennacherib, 73 

Senusert I., II., and III., see Sesostris 

Septimius Severus, arch of, 207 

Serapis, 202 

Sesostris I., II., and III., 50 

Shamash, 75 

Shang dynasty, 103 

Sheba, queen of, 256 

"Sheykh-el-Beled," statue of, 49 

Sicyon, school of, 162, 166 

Sidon sarcophagi, 162, 178 

Silchester, 221 

Sin, 75 

Snake as a symbol, 202 

Sneferu, 47 

Sosandra, statue of, 171 

Spain, Moslem occupation of, 260 

Sphinx, 51 

Stele of the Vultures, 70 

Stonehenge, 9 

Strangford shield, 175 

Sultan Hassan, mosque of, 272 

Sumerians, 70 ; sculpture of, 79 

Sung dynasty, 104 

Sunna, law of the, 265 

Sussex skull, 8 

Symbolism of Medieval Church, 302 

Symbols, early Christian, 235 

Taj Nahal, 272 
Tanagra statuettes, 184 
T'ang dynasty, 104 
Tasmanians, 10 
Tegea, sculptures from, 177 
Tel-el-Armana, frescoes from, 57 
Terra-cottas — Babylonian, 83 ; Etrus- 
can, 198; Greek, 184 
Tertiary epoch, 10 
Thceophilus, treatise of, 312 
Thebes, 35 
Theodoric, 196 



Theodosius, 196, 232 

Thoth, 38 

Thousand and One Nights, 260, 273, 

Thucydides, 155 

Tiglath Pileser I., inscription of, 78 
Timat, 75 
Tina, 197 

Tiryns, 123; acropolis of, 128 
Titus, 214 ; arch of, 206, 214 
Tiy, queen, 39, 56 
Trajan, 216; column of, 208, 216 
Troy, 122 

Tulun, 261 ; mosque of, 271 
Turghril Bey, 262 
Turks, 233, 262 ; art of, 265 

Ur Nina, 70; sculpture of, 79 

Vandals, 298 

Vaphio cups, 124, 127, 131 

I Vase painting, Greek, 183 
Veii, fall of, 211 
Venus, 20 

"Venus of Milo," statue of, 180 
Vespasian, 214 
Vesta, 201 

Victory of Samothrace, statue of, i 
Virgil, 200 
Viruconium, 221 
Visigoths, 273 
Volterra, walls of, 205 

Wall of China, hi 

Wall, Hadrian's, 203 

Wolf of the Capitol, statue of, 211 

Yuan dynasty, 105 

Zeus, 157 ; statue of, 173 
Zeuxis, 47 
Zozer, 47 




lEtyptiannnd H,\hyleaiaa Cht.'H,<l^xji. thai sf Brtiutt-i 6f Slt//> 








BC. o AD 




L. B. Cat. No. 1138 

jn V 


Ancient L Mediev J. Art 

' o /\ i \ A T a Y y. i 

^Bulle y, Margar e t H*) 



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